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Papa Ratzi has a problem

Timothy Kincaid

April 5th, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has a problem.

The molestation of children in their charge by priests is a scandal across all of Christendom. And the Church-wide cover-up of sexual assault by priests has now been traced to include the Pope (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger).

But that is not Il Papa’s problem.

Benedict’s problem isn’t that his buddy and ally used to beat orphan girls. Nor that an abuse hotline set up by Ratzinger’s Catholic Church in Germany crashed because more than 4,000 victims called on the first day. His problem is not even prostitution in the Vatican.

Nor is the Pope’s problem the increasingly bizarre statements of his defenders. It’s not when Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, seeks to change the subject to “a homosexual problem”, nor when Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, speaking at St. Peter’s, compares the criticism received to the holocaust. It’s not even the shockingly casual way in which Easter Sunday’s speech was preceded by a declaration that the whole issue is just “petty gossip of the moment“.

No, the Pope’s problem is the press.

On Saturday, the Vatican’s newspaper kept up its campaign against the media for reports on alleged cover-ups of sexual abuse of children by priests, saying the pope had become the target of a “despicable campaign of defamation.”

Yes, Benedict XVI has properly identified the one thing that could bring down his Papacy and threaten the position and power of the Roman Catholic Church. For perhaps the first time ever, the world’s media is unwilling to be complicit in the cover-up of a centuries-long habit of abuse, self-pampering, and internal preservation of politicians masquerading as men of God.

All of the scandal, the abuse, the hypocrisy, the greed and avarice and gluttony and self-righteousness of the world’s dominant religious institution could be overlooked. All of the cover-ups and shuffling about and secret deals could be kept in the dark. All of it would be unknown and unknowable were it not for newspapers, television, and even bloggers who refuse to let evil call itself good.

Yes, Papa Ratzi has a problem with the press.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Of course the problem is the press. No one owuld know about it if it weren’t for them.

That, and skimpily dressed, alluringly sinful altar boys.

Don’t you know anything?

Those South Park episodes are starting to look almost whatever the opposite of completely over the top is.

Joey
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

As someone who has suffered sexual abuse as a child, I take a special interest in stories like this. My abuser was not clergy, but it does appear that churches are particularly ripe for this kind of behavior.

Child abusers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and those who cover for them share in their guilt.

But I thought that this was a gay rights blog. Where’s the gay angle? I get that you’re trying to point out hypocrisy on the part of a huge religious institution, but what’s this got to do with gay people?

David Malcolm
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

I think the gay angle is that this current pope has been a vicious enemy toward gays worldwide. Which just backs the notion that gay haters molest children.

Ben in Oakland
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Bill Donahue keeps claiming it’s a “homosexual problem.” Here’s one of many good summaries.

http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/the_catholic_church_sex_scandal_is_not_a_homosexual_problem

Joey
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Okay, now I think David Malcom’s getting a little overheated here.

A vicious enemy toward gays worldwide? I’m no expert on the man, but I don’t know of any evidence to support that claim. He simply thinks that homosexuality is incompatible with what he thinks God believes. It’s a “sin”, if you will. That’s not my belief, and that’s not why Catholicism isn’t my religion.

And then to say that gay haters are actually child predators. Uh…now you sound about as paranoid as the people you claim to oppose.

Joey
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Anyway, I am interested in this story. I’ll have to read more about it. I just think that it’s included here because BTB likes to bash other people’s religions. Perhaps the Catholic Church deserves some bashing here, but the connection to gay rights is tenuous. It’s almost like you’re rejoicing in it. Schadenfreude.

Richard W. Fitch
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Joey – Any religious leader, especially the head of the whole Roman Catholic empire, who refers to LBGT as ‘intrinsically evil’, should not be immune to harsh criticism from those whom he demeans. If speaking the truth is religion bashing, there is little hope for any belief system to be reformed from either within or externally.

Jim
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Joey, I don’t really think schadenfreude is the appropriate term. For some of us, things like truth and justice mean something. The Pope’s sycophants, including Wm Donahue, are making anti-gay political statements in a cynical “twofer”: protect the pedophilia-hiding hierarchy while bashing gays. You know, us. The ones who DO pay taxes, and who DONT rape children. Doesn’t that seem like a gay rights issue? This is also about thousands of victims who until now have been silenced, and about hundreds of priests who have never been brought to justice. That is a criminal and human rights issue. BTB is second to none in keeping gay rights AND human rights front and center. Secondarily, the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic groups provided a large amt of financial and in-kind support for anti-gay marriage campaigns. Also a gay rights issue.

Jim Burroway
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

I just think that it’s included here because BTB likes to bash other people’s religions

For the record, the Catholicism is my religion, and I have mounted numerous defenses on its behalf on other topics. But not this one.

But as much as I have loved the church, it takes a very special kind of myopia to ignore its shameful dealings with its own gay congregants.

But beyond that, it takes something on the order of criminal negligence to pretend that the church does not have a systematic global problem in how it deals with sexual predators, and that this problem reaches to the highest office. And yet, it’s that very criminal negligence that has gotten the Church where it is today. And it is the current Pope, Benedict XVI, nee Joseph Alois Ratzinger, who we now know bears a great share of personal responisibility for the mess this church is in.

As a former altar boy myself whose family has enjoyed wonderful friendships with various pastors and nuns in our parish, I am deeply disturbed that other members of the clergy could have taken sexual advantage of young people. This harmed, most importantly and eggregiously, the youth themselves, and it also cast a dark shadow of suspicion (and even outrage) against their fellow innocent priests and nuns who share the same outrage over what these monsters did that I do.

Believe me: while there may be schadenfreude on the part of many people, there is none here. Not with me anyway. There is nothing but infinite sadness.

Jim Burroway
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

And let me add this:

If this were not the Catholic Church, but the Kiwanas, and we learned that the leader of the Kiwanas himself was personally responsible for preventing other Kiwanas officers from being held accountable for the crime of child sexual abuse, do you not believe that the head of the Kiwanas would be rotting in jail right this very minute?

Soren456
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

“Self pampering” for sure.

These guys are bowed and curtsied to, deferred to, their rings kissed, their opinions sought, their blessings treasured, their surroundings palatial, and so forth.

They begin to believe their own publicity, so to speak.

I have exactly zero sympathy for any of them. But I do think that their outrage and puzzlement, their sense of undeserved attack, is genuine. Very genuine.

That’s what makes it so much more fun (if I can use that word) to watch. As I’ve thought before, it’s grand opera.

Joey
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

I agree strongly with a lot of things that Jim, Richard, et al. are saying. the Catholic Church has a systemic problem and it needs to address it. I don’t defend child molesters. As a victim of sexual abuse myself, I’d like to see all child molesters thrown in jail with no chance of parole. Anyone who covered up for them deserves to sit in jail right next to them, as an accomplice after the fact.

I just wonder if you would be quite so adamant about your position if the person ensnared in his own guilt was someone besides the pope. What if it was someone who belonged to a more gay-friendly branch of Christianity? Would you still be as up in arms? You’ve got an ax to grind, and it shows.

I’d also like to add that the gay community has a problem with little boys as well. Not all gays, of course. (Just like it’s not all priests). I wouldn’t dream of socializing with the scummy boy-loving gay set, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

Take a look at this article from Boston Magazine and tell me that it isn’t written with a tone that is sympathetic to NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association):

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/boy_crazy/

I know some gay people who just seem uncomfortable condemning or judging anyone else’s sexual behavior as wrong. After all–we’re gay! We don’t judge! (I’m not saying that this is the majority view, just a sizable minority view).

From “Boy Crazy”:

“In the early ’90s, the gay community watched in horror as the Christian right used NAMBLA’s presence in gay-pride marches to attack gay-rights legislation and tell Americans that homosexuals were after their kids. The tactic worked. ‘Starting in 1994, it would have been easier for Jerry Falwell to march in a gay-pride parade than for NAMBLA,’ says Echols, the anti-pedophile crusader.”

Sure. It makes me wonder if the perverts would have ever been rooted out of gay pride marches if it hadn’t gotten them bad publicity. Would my local gay pride parade still include a pedophile float?

Burr
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

So I guess we shouldn’t criticize ANY of our oppressors then, since clearly we have an axe to grind with anyone who denies us our rights..

Give me a break. The Catholic Church is fully deserving of all the negative attention they’re getting here and elsewhere, and it’s borderline concern trolling to beg us to turn a blind eye towards this travesty.

Eddie89
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

You would think that if these “men of god” were truly “men of god” then God would intercede on their behalf and speak to the entire planet that they are persecuting innocent men.

You would think that a being the created everything that is known and unknown, would have the power to do such a thing.

Unless, such a being does not exist.

And these “men of god” are only “men”.

Men with the same wants, feelings, desires and everything else that makes a human being, human.

My wish is that more people will “wise up” to these “men” and their “men” created religions and just give up on religion.

Tommy
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Joey, Joey, Joey, Joey… Please read “Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?” before commenting again.

NAMBLA has never been much more than a post office box. A small gay pride parade would have more marchers than the wildly inflated numbers NAMBLA claims to have had in it’s total existence.

Please stop regurgitating gay panic.

Anywho, this website has covered dozens of stories on child molestation. It’s fairly regularly reported on. Claiming simply reporting it is having an “ax to grind” is disingenuous.

Of course this story is news for more reasons than simply child molestation.

1. It’s been going on for centuries.
2. It’s international.
3. The sheer number of victims.
4. The massive cover up.
5. The fact that one of the most important and powerful people participated in it.
6. That the organization participating in this posits itself as the sole body that knows God’s will and as the ultimate in moral authority, and uses those beliefs to regularly persecute others.
7. That said organization is resorting to blaming the gays.

gar
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

My favorite quote is the cardinal that called all the attention to molestation problems “petty gossip.” Next they’ll call it a tempest in a teapot.

Emily K
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

I’d also like to add that the gay community has a problem with little boys as well.

replace “gay community” with “human species” and you’ll start to make sense. Other than that, it’s just more of the tired canards about gay men wanting to jump any human being with a penis.

..interesting how once again, lesbians and queer women are left out. Wouldn’t we have a ‘problem with little girls?’ well, no one is talking about it.. and if this is the case, then, gee! Give US our equality and throw the gay MEN in jail.

..or is it just more gay male panic by other “straight” men who for some reason can’t stop thinking about what gay men do behind closed doors.

Jim Burroway
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Joey,

I wish I could believe you were interested in actually engaging in a genuine discussion rather than raising strawmen to be knocked down.

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2007/09/07/756

For you to imply that our condemnations are nothing but “publicity” is flat wrong and abhorrent, and they speak much more about your hostility than your recognition of the actual scientific data about child sexual abuse.

We always have and always will condemn child sexual abuse wherever we find it. We will also condemn all of those who unjustly conflate the two as you appear bent on doing here. Take your strawmen somewhere else.

Kathy
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Donahue’s interview on Larry King absolutely made this a gay issue.

customartist
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

Thank God (the REAL God I mean) for the Press!

Ben in Oakland
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

In my whole life, after knowing hundreds and hundreds of gay men well enough to know THIS, I have met only one man whom I would describe as gay who was also a chicken hawk, a term which we don’t see much any more.

And that, Joey, is what you are talking about– chicken hawks– not pedophiles, and not gay men. Chicken hawks prefer teenaged boys, but even the one I knew liked his boys 16 and up.

Maurice Lacunza
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

I wish that my posted message could be heard in all of BTB.

My mother, 77, came out of the closet to the Catholic Church. She told her circle that she had a gay son.

Apparently the insiders make numerous references to the “evil homosexual” and their agenda. Last week she said, “I finally had it. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I told them my son was gay and he was not evil.”

My mom said that the room fell silent and then this 80 year old woman spoke up and said, “my son died of AIDS and this church would not even bury him.”

I told my mom that BTB once wrote about the power of change when mothers and grandmothers start coming out to their friends about their loved gay children. I was proud of my mom. She said that it was the FIRST time she ever stood up and defended me. What can I say? I love my Mom.

Timothy Kincaid
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

Maurice,

I love your Mom too.

Richard Rush
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

Maurice, your mother knows far more about morals than the Catholic Church, an institution that presumes to be THE authority on such matters and thus qualified to lecture others. Thanks for posting that.

castaway
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

Probably the higher-ups in the hierarchy of the Catholic church couldn’t punish these priests too severly for fear of an ugly backlash. Imagine if they take one priest out of the ranks for such misconduct, and he decides to start talking about “other things” that probably go on in this church. It might explain why they instead choose to play it cool, move them around, everybody keeps their jobs, the cash keeps flowing, no further secrets are revealed.

Paul in Canada
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

New ‘revalations’ now coming out of Quebec, Canada – I suspect there will be dozens, perhaps hundreds of these stories surfacing over the next couple of weeks:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/04/07/quebec-pedophile-priest-cp.html

Ben in Oakland
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I certainly hope so, Paul.

Timothy Kincaid
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I hope we never hear of another case of molestation by priests, anywhere. I hope there is not a solitary adult out there who has been suffering in silence for decades whose voice hasn’t already been heard.

I hope that every molesting priest has been identified. I hope the Pope really did have no idea. I hope that the vast overwhelming majority of priests are good devoted men seeking to better the world around them.

I hope that this crisis is over, that the healing can begin, that from this moment on the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church will dedicate itself to openness, honesty, care for its flock, and turning civil matters over to civil authorities.

Unfortunately, Ben, I think your hope and Paul’s suspicions are far more likely to come true.

Ben in Oakland
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Agreed, timothy. But I used to hope for a dollar under my pillow whenever i lost a tooth– back when a dollar was actually worth something.

I wish it were the last report, but this has been going on literally for centuries.

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