Ever since the disclosures of abuse I have been waiting for some sort of defence or at least some explanation as to why these events happened, were allowed to happen and why there is a stone wall tactic over these events.
To that end I have come up with a few thoughts, in absence of anyone else offering a defence. Any quotes used will be from “The case of the Pope” by Geoffrey Robertson. First off a priest after ordination dose not attain supper human powers, he is a man with the same desires and needs of any normal man. What happens at ordination is that he vows to keep these needs and desires under control, supressed. Why? is it because this kind of mental control will elevate him above lay people or perhaps it is just that the church demands it.
” Certainly, the commitment to celibacy and the church’s condemnation of masturbation as a mortal sin sets up an unendurable tension for many priests, and senior churchmen have accepted that up to half are in some way “sexually active”. This does not explain why so many -on some estimates, from 6-9 per cent- are sexually active with children. The priesthood offers incomparable opportunity and spiritual power for paedophiles , and some have infiltrated it , but most offenders appear to be psycho- sexually immature, often in denial about their condition and hoping that the rigours of the priesthood will protect them from themselves. Instead they find a brotherhood, a sodality that closes ranks to protect them not from themselves but from the consequences of their actions, because the overriding philosophy of their superiors has been to avoid scandal to the church. This translates into a culture of ready forgiveness for sexual sins. Richard Snipe, a former priest turned psychiatrist, argues that the prevalence of masturbation in seminaries and the ready forgiveness in confession, “forms a cycle of guilt that binds clerics and confessors together wherein sexual transgressions become minimalized and trivialized -even sex with minors becomes just another sin to be forgiven.”
So here we have part of the problem .A man ,an ordinary man ,is asked the impossible, suppress all you natural desires, and when (not if) you fail you will be forgiven. With every breach comes forgiveness.
Secondly “facts that are now emerging show that sexual abuse of children by priests in the catholic church has been at a level considerably above that in any other organization, and that it has been covered up by many bishops with the support and at the direction of the Vatican. the cover up has included an almost visceral refusal to call in the police, the swearing of complainants and witnesses to utter secrecy, and proceedings under a clandestine Canon Law biased towards the accused priest and in any event threatening no real punishment for the guilty.”
CANON LAW the big stick to threaten any priest. The Vatican describes itself as an absolute monarchy in which the pope has full legislative, executive and judicial powers, in other words it is a law unto itself. The ambassadors of the Vatican are it’s clergy and in certain cases seem to be able, under canon law, to claim diplomatic immunity.
So in defence of the order they are bound by Canon Law and must believe that the church will do the right thing I suppose in the same way that a suicide bomber can justify his actions through his religious beliefs. I hope that this has brought some clarity .Individuals were only following the rules, blame the pope!!
I would be grateful for any comments