Thursday, March 25, 2010

USCCB releases audit on sexual abuse

The USCCB released a new audit showing the fewest reports of sexual abuse since 2004 and repeating that most incidents occured decades ago. .... They are also rebuilding their website which has me singing. I've argued since the early 90s that the USCCB has access to talent and technology to respond quickly to distortions of truth, falsehoods about practice and cravings for information.

Bill Donahue of the Catholic League points out how little coverage this audit received.  He is also composing an ad to appear in next Tuesday's New York Times as a response to their front page story today which covers old ground and doesn't merit front page status..

Judging by the fascination with perverts in Germany, Ireland and Italy and the frenzy to somehow discover some grievous omission and negligence on Pope Benedict's part, the press seems determined to keep monitoring this crisis. This is all to the good if it brings evil to light and produces a new accountability. Truth is great and will prevail. I will be reposting my Shaken By Scandals when I'm done making some revisions to it based on exchanges with Doug Sirman and some new stories from the U.S., Germany, Ireland and Italy.


  1. Dear Doug,
    If you're still interested respond to me on the Mar 23 program schedule comments section.

  2. Dear Al,

    “1. I know of no “cure” for pedophilia. Claims to treatment haven’t panned out. However, this doesn’t mean that treatments weren’t considered possible. The fact of aversion, drug, surgical and various talk therapies only speaks to my point: During this period of therapeutic wonder that hit the middle class after WWII, it’s not surprising that the bishops would have been carried along with it.”

    Well first, I would wish to regard that beautiful piece of prose, “period of theraputic wonder” with the gaping awe it so richly deserves. :-)

    Again, the first original point you made was that “mainstream professional opinion” held that being sexually abused as a child wasn’t that harmful. Could you please stop conflating that with issues of treatability? Your assertion regarding mainstream professionals concerned harm, not treatability. In any event, I know of no way to defend such a statement, except to expand the definition of “mainstream professional” to the point where it becomes utterly meaningless. The social sciences have demonstrated that such experiences are quite harmful. Prior to that quantified demonstration, it was assumed to be harmful on the basis of the western, christian understanding that sexual behavior is extraordinarily important and that the imposition of sexual congress on the unwilling damages the soul (you remember the soul, don’t you?). That so very many Bishops, who allegedly practice a teaching in which sexual behavior is regarded as rich with consequence, would simultaneously claim that they didn’t know seduction or anal rape were harmful reveals nothing but the mercenary, thoroughly prostituted nature of their character.


  3. continuing:
    With regard to treatability, we cannot ignore the issue of risk. Let us be VERY clear on this: I may, as a Christian, choose to make sacrifices and take risks as I live out my faith. I may walk into the lion’s den, confident in the knowledge that God will either protect me, or hopeful that He will accept the sacrifice of my life on behalf of His will. However, whether I am a ploughman, priest or pope, I have NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to place other peoples’s children in harm’s way so as to express my faith that Jesus will “bring teh healin’”, or simply because I’m in tune with the optimistic zietgeist “of the time”.

    The possibility of treatment, with the *unavoidable* knowledge that such attempts are experimental and unproven, and therefore promise NOTHING in terms of outcome necessarily points out the therapist’s professional, ethical and moral duty to the community; this has NEVER been in question. That the vast majority of therapists in this context also wore roman collars does nothing but increase the weight of that duty. Whether lobotomy or talk therapy, or an 80mg aspirin once a day – to knowingly subject others to such danger, to be willing to have OTHERS pay the price for your exercise in wishful-thinking-masquerading-as-faith, is inexcusable. It is also an undeniable expression of narcissism which very nearly matches that of a textbook pedophile. Nevertheless, according to the John Jay study, over 60% of American Bishops who were confronted with this situation repeatedly did precisely that: they were willing to continue placing someone else’s children in harm’s way as long as they got to pretend they were doing something other than nothing at all.


  4. continuing:
    Regarding Green’s article, which is entirely beside the point of the discussion, this is not a new situation regarding the field of psychology and the DSM. When the first DSM was being formulated, the question of what actually constitutes a mental illness had to be contemplated. One of the criteria settled upon for determining this was whether or not the subject experiences any negative consequences as a result of their condition. This leaves, as an open question the issue of pedophiles who never act out against others and are at peace with their proclivities(an imaginary creature, I would think). Green’s pursuit of this points out the failure of the criteria to produce a finding with any inherent meaning.


    Doug Sirman