Questionable Motives

May 25, 2011

Why is this catholic report (Causes and Context study of priest pedophilia) a major setback in the movement towards Church accountability?

Filed under: Catholic Church,child abuse,Priests — tildeb @ 3:23 pm

Mary Celeste Hale explains:

Before I read the newly-released report, I tried to be as charitable and optimistic about it as possible, with the thought that “well, this is better than nothing”.

After finishing the report, though, I can say with certainty that both my charity and my optimism were unwarranted. I was wrong. Very wrong. This report isn’t better than nothing. It’s a major setback in the movement towards Church accountability.

She summarizes her reasons:

First, I want to explain why this report’s findings are neither credible nor insightful:

1. The conflict of interest created by the funding.

2. Limited and untrustworthy data.

Next, two of the major problems:

1. Methodology, and

2. Conclusion.

Mary Celeste has written many times about her being raised a catholic and the pernicious effects it has had on her life. She is a wonderful and passionate writer who expresses herself with wit and charm and I urge people to read not only her entire dismantling of this catholic funded, catholic approved, catholic biased report here but her other essays and posts and comments from her links.

In the meantime, here is a sample from her conclusion that I think is worth serious consideration:

Sometimes I think that I should stop writing about this issue, as I’ve written about it so many times before and it’s quite difficult not to repeat myself. But I can’t and won’t shut up about it, and neither should you. The day that we stop writing and talking about it is the day that the Church wins this fight.

Time and time again we have seen that the Church will do whatever it takes to downplay and/or cover up their failings and crimes. They have shown their willingness to fight dirty, and one of the most useful and effective tools in their arsenal is their dominance of the discourse and conversation (both in the media and elsewhere) about these issues. The Causes and Context study is a textbook example of this: when the media reports its “takeaways” without providing context, they are, in effect, doing the Church’s face-saving dirty work for them.

No, we must not shut up. We must not allow the Church to dominate the discourse. Speak out in whatever ways you can. On its own, what you or I say or write may not have any effect on the Church or the discourse surrounding this issue. Taken as a whole, though, our words provide a clear indication that there are many of us who will neither blindly accept the Church’s domination of the conversation nor quietly sit by while they evade justice time and time again.

Don’t shut up, even when you feel like you’re repeating yourself. It took me a while to realize that the reason I’ve sometimes been repetitive when writing about this is that the Church itself has repeated the same crimes and the same institutionally sanctioned cover-ups over and over again. They repeatedly refuse to admit their culpability or to face legal punishment when appropriate. And, most importantly, they repeatedly deny outsiders access to their files that contain information on the sexual abuse of children and the cover-ups of that abuse.

Until the day that they allow that access, until the day that the light of public scrutiny is finally able to illuminate and reveal the darkest and most disturbing aspects of the Church, we owe it to the victims to never, ever shut up.

I won’t shut up, and neither should you. The day that we stop fighting back is the day that they win.

Let’s make sure that day never comes.

I’m right there with you, Celeste.

(h/t WEIT, Surprise! Catholic Church whitewashes priest pedophilia)


  1. But it’s a recent problem!

    Is it? Really?

    Comment by tildeb — May 25, 2011 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  2. Brilliant, man! You wouldn’t happen to have some links or so for the sources to these historic cases?

    Comment by FreeFox — May 26, 2011 @ 4:39 am | Reply

  3. Over at the Washington Post, Susan Jacoby has a nice piece responding to those who will always find a way to excuse the church from the same moral obligations it pretends to defend from us evil secularists. Its duplicity and those who defend its institutionalized criminality need to be exposed and publicly criticized for their moral inadequacies.

    Comment by tildeb — May 26, 2011 @ 9:28 am | Reply

  4. The Vatican’s Guidelines to Bishops for dealing with claims of priest sexual abuse was released on May 16:

    Comment by Veronica Abbass — May 31, 2011 @ 6:59 am | Reply

  5. Good video – really blunt.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — June 1, 2011 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

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