Alex Blaze

Pedophilia libel

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 13, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Catholic church, child abuse, pope, scandal, Tarcisio Bertone

The Vatican is flailing its arms trying to pawn its current crop of sex abuse charges on the gays. They've been doing it for years, and you can almost hear the Cardinal saying, "Please just believe it's their fault. You hate them, right? Can't you just blame them instead of the church you love?"

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, made the comments during a news conference Monday in Chile, where one of the church's highest-profile pedophile cases involves a priest having sex with young girls.

"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true," said Bertone. "That is the problem."

It probably won't help this time, especially considering that anyone paying attention to this crisis knows that it's not about the connection of pedophilia and sexual assault to any orientation or lifestyle, it's about a church that cared too little about the victims to do anything about it.

And Ratzinger himself is now directly implicated in the scandal (no more "He was told about Priest X, but you can't prove that he was listening!"):

In the November 1985 letter, Ratzinger says the arguments for removing Kiesle are of ''grave significance'' but added that such actions required very careful review and more time. He also urged the bishop to provide Kiesle with ''as much paternal care as possible'' while awaiting the decision, according to a translation for AP by Professor Thomas Habinek, chairman of the University of Southern California Classics Department.

But the future pope also noted that any decision to defrock Kiesle must take into account the ''good of the universal church'' and the ''detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke within the community of Christ's faithful, particularly considering the young age.'' Kiesle was 38 at the time.

Kiesle had been sentenced in 1978 to three years' probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct for tying up and molesting two young boys in a San Francisco Bay area church rectory.

As his probation ended in 1981, Kiesle asked to leave the priesthood and the diocese submitted papers to Rome to defrock him.[...]

As Kiesle's fate was being weighed in Rome, the priest returned to suburban Pinole to volunteer as a youth minister at St. Joseph Church, where he had served as associate pastor from 1972 to 1975.

''He admitted molesting many children and bragged that he was the Pied Piper and said he tried to molest every child that sat on his lap,'' said Lewis VanBlois, an attorney for six Kiesle victims who interviewed the former priest in prison. ''When asked how many children he had molested over the years, he said 'tons.'''

First, why, instead of all the other work the Catholic Church does, are these people always allowed to keep on working with children? Whatever other reason then Cardinal Ratzinger had for wanting to keep this guy around, it's unclear why he had to keep on working with children.

Second, why would the Catholic Church want to keep him around? The article implies that the Ratzinger was worried about scandal (too late for that one), being fair to the priest (after he had already been convicted), and keeping a young priest around (he was 38 at the time, dispensation is rare for priests under 40). Are they really that desperate?

Third, this case, like most of the others, directly refute the whole "Gays are child molesters" excuse (it's not really an excuse, since even if they were all gay the Catholic Church had a responsibility to work with local law enforcement authorities). After Kiesle was defrocked (only after lots of people complained and six years later), he married a woman. Whether he was in the closet or was actually straight, he was living a heterosexual lifestyle. He also molested both boys and girls, as if that's any sign of his sexual orientation.

The reason he had access to children was the Church, and, as the Diocese of Milwaukee story showed a few weeks ago, he was most likely protected from law enforcement officials by the Catholic Church.

There may be a connection between celibacy and pedophilia, I don't really know the research, and there's no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. But those are both academic questions. One thing this story does show is that there's a connection between involvement in the Roman Catholic Church and child abuse, if for nothing else other than the help they give these folks.

Now that should be more than enough evidence for various countries to start investigating Ratzinger's involvement in this cover-up and possibly arrest him. But I doubt that'll happen. We live in a time when powerful people can go on TV and brag about how they ordered war crimes to be committed and the powerful faint at the idea that they might get prosecuted. People just accept that people in positions of power are above the law.

Obviously, quite a few countries should be investigating the Pope, but none will. They don't have the stomach for that kind of fight.

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The Catholic leadership seems so bent at running for the cliff at high speed that I'm wondering if they'll be able to stop before they they run off the edge.

I do think the Church is in dire need of reform, and running off that cliff is probably the best thing the leadership could do for the Church.

I always wondered if the Church didn't have any jobs counting dusty-ass inventory or something that could keep a priest busy and useful without putting him in direct contact with the kiddos. Instead, it seems like the more allegations of pedophilia a priest had lodged against him, the higher the chance that he'll be assigned to teach in a school or be in charge of the church daycare center.

It's the patriarchy. And the patriarchy is not to be questioned. So, you've got sexually repressed men with access and unchecked absolute authority over women and children. This creates the perfect conditions for abuse to happen.

Has it occurred to anyone that girls are simply not reporting incidents as much because girls have less authority in the church than boys?

The Church teaches girls from the get go that it's Eve's fault humans were kicked out of the Garden of Eden for having tempted Adam, and that they're cursed for it. So I mean, before they're even touched it's already they're fault.

If homosexuality was the problem, the priests would be having sex with each other, not molesting the children. I'm certain two gay priests could hook up and keep it on the down low as opposed to turning to young boys.

There is nothing the church can do at this point to make up for this. All they can do is get used to, and accept, the criticism. They made their own bed. The worst thing they can do is continue to try to defend themselves. Its time to start making nothing but UNEQUIVOCAL apologies. Period.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 14, 2010 10:36 AM

As a far lapsed Catholic I would just say this:

Priests are "married" to the church and through the church are married to one another. If that is not weird enough Nuns of my youth would proudly show their wedding rings as "brides of Christ." Yes, that is a suspension of reality too!

It is hard for them to dispose of one of their own. They are structurally set up still as the government they once were.

One priest I knew who was gay and not a child molester was dubbed "the good, but not so holy."

At the same time Rome can be schizophrenic and welcome conservative anti Gay Episcopal priests who would wish to transfer to become Catholic priests wife, children and all. Now, say you were a celibate hetero celebrant. Would you not feel cheated of a personal life progeny and intimacy? Every Gay Catholic priest I have known has an advanced degree in compensation and the smart ones only chose gluttony. I only knew Gay priests after being a part of forming GLF at Purdue as an adult. I do not envy their usually sad small town lives.

The Roman church is strangling itself from both directions.