Opinion Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

Why the Catholic Church can’t move on from the sex abuse crisis

Catherine Coleman Murphy, center, and Jack Wintermyer, right, protest along with others outside Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul before an Ash Wednesday Mass in Philadelphia on March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(RNS) — Many Catholic bishops and priests are frustrated by the continued coverage of the sex abuse crisis in the media. They believe they have fixed the problem and the church should be able to move on.

They argue that since the widespread mishandling of abuse in the Boston Archdiocese was exposed in 2002, the church in the United States has put in place policies and procedures to deal with abuse.

It’s true that many precautions have been taken. Seminarians and priests, as well as employees and volunteers who work with children, must now go through a police background check. Any accusations of abuse must be reported to law enforcement. In some states, clergy are now mandatory reporters and will be prosecuted if they do not report abuse.

Any accusations of abuse must also be reported to a diocesan lay review board. If the board considers the accusation credible, the priest must be suspended while an investigation takes place. While suspended, he cannot do any ministry. The results of that investigation must be presented to the review board, which then makes a recommendation to the bishop.

If there is sufficient evidence of abuse, the priest is permanently suspended, and the case goes to the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, which decides whether to kick him out of the priesthood. If the case is unclear, the congregation might call for a canonical trial, either in the diocese or in Rome. If the priest is found guilty, he is thrown out of the priesthood, with some exceptions for elderly or sick priests. In any case, he would never be returned to ministry.

Critics say that these policies may be in place, but question whether they are being enforced. To read news accounts and grand jury reports, it doesn’t look like it.

The bishops and their defenders point out that almost all of the abuse cases reported in the news and grand jury reports are old cases. Most of the cases in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, for example, were decades old: Of the 300 priests with accusations of abuse, only two had been accused of committing abuse in the last 10 years. Almost half the priests are dead. All are out of ministry.

The bishops also point to the research done by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which looked at allegations of clerical abuse between 1950 and 2002. It found that “more abuse occurred in the 1970s than any other decade, peaking in 1980.” It showed that the number of cases plummeted in the 1980s and 1990s, long before The Boston Globe’s expose in 2002.

Figure 2.3.1, “The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States,” John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2004

When the John Jay study was published in 2004, critics predicted that as time went on, victims from later periods would come forward showing that the amount of abuse in the later decades was similar to that of earlier periods. The John Jay study acknowledged that possibility.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate has continued collecting data on abuse since 2004 and reported 8,694 new allegations from 2004-2017. But, it found, “The distribution of cases reported to CARA are nearly identical to the distribution of cases, over time, in John Jay’s results,” according to Mark Gray of CARA. “The accusations continue to fit the historical pattern.”

If the critics were right, there should have been more abuse cases in later years. “We’d expect the trend to move forward in the last 15 years if reporting delays were evident,” writes Gray on his blog 1964, “but this has not been the case. No new wave of allegations similar to the past has occurred to date.”

Of the 8,694 new allegations recorded by CARA since 2004, only 302 were for abuse taking place between 2000 and 2017, an average of 17 per year for the whole country. This is 302 too many, but nothing like the thousands of cases in the past.

Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, 2018

Critics continue to challenge these conclusions, saying that in time new victims will come forward reporting more recent crimes. The bishops’ defenders argue that the data shows that most bishops were quietly beginning to deal with abusive priests in the 1980s and 1990s. By 2002, negligent bishops such as Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston were the exception.

Despite the data, the public impression is of a church incapable of getting its house in order. Only those who carefully read news stories and grand jury reports will notice the dates of when the abuse took place. If a bishop challenges this impression, he is condemned as just not getting it.

The continuing problem, in other words, is not that the precautions aren’t working. It’s that the bishops have forfeited their credibility. People don’t believe a thing the bishops say, and people are not going to let the church move on. Things might have been different if bishops in the past had been more forthcoming, taken responsibility for their actions and resigned.

Law enforcement officials in at least seven states are now launching their own investigations similar to the one in Pennsylvania.

There is only one way the bishops can begin to regain credibility, and that is to give a full and credible account of past abuse. Each diocese must publish the names of priests credibly accused, what they were accused of, when the diocese learned of the abuse, and what the bishop did.

Such a report should not be done by a chancery monsignor. It must be done by someone with credibility in the community— a retired judge, prosecutor, FBI agent or the like. Only when all the information is out will people begin to believe that the church has got things under control.

There is great opposition from bishops, priests and diocesan lawyers to such a full disclosure. But a smart bishop would get this report out before his attorney general comes knocking. In addition, such full disclosure is important in the healing process for victims of abuse. Bishops hurt them by stonewalling and denying their experience. Now it is time for the bishops to validate their experience by full disclosure.

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.


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  • Critics say that these policies may be in place, but question whether they are being enforced. To read news accounts and grand jury reports, it doesn’t look like it.

    I can personally attest to the fact that where I live (and don’t ask me where that is because I won’t tell you – I cherish my online anonymity) the local Catholic bishop has responded well in a recent case where an abuse victim came forward accusing a priest in active ministry of sexual abuse when he was a minor over twenty years ago. From local news reports, the priest was immediately removed from active ministry as well as any further contact with children, and the diocese has apparently worked closely with law enforcement to ensure that justice is served and children protected. This is only one case obviously, but in light of the sentence cited above, which seems to be a prevailing view, I can attest that in at least one case, it isn’t true.

  • This whole sordid affair has been very very good for the Church, and for the lukewarm brains of the left.

    It’s finally put the lie to the “pedaphelia” over-explanation.

    We now know from multiple sources where the bulk of the problem lies: priests chasing post-pubsescent boys or young men.

    Let’s get to the root of the problem.

    And the root is not “clericalism” either. That’s only a secondary problem: active gay bishops covering for active gay priests.

  • Yes, all of life’s woes can eventually be traced back to the Great Gay Goliath/Menace/Mafia (take your pick.) Considering that gay people account for less than 5% of the population, who knew we had so much power?

  • Well..whatever the % of priests are gay….it’s they that are causing such a disproportionate % of the abuse cases. Potent cancer.

  • It’s a pretty sick mind to view what is evil – and abusing people of any age and sex is evil – and then to call it good. You’ve done as such.

  • The complete fix: The Great Kibosh-

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • It takes a pretty sick mind to keep one’s head in the sand, declaring the problem to be “pedophilia” or “clericalism”.

    So happy that the problem has been outed.

  • The reason they feel the church has not moved on is because this is still a festering wound. Frankly, by them making that comment it just goes to show they have absolutely no clue as to the damage they have inflicted. Has any one of them thought for a moment that the victims/survivors would like to move past their horrors, but because they can’t we in turn cannot. If they are so lacking is pastoral abilities to realize that this is not about when they are ready it is about when victims/survivors are ready they need a new job. In fact, why doesn’t every priest in what ever station resign if they feel we should all be moving on, that this is in the past. I have NO respect for any of them any longer and in perpetuity.

  • You make me want to vomit

    Im an child abuse survivor (3x sexual, 1x emotional – 18 years worth on the last), AND im bisexual

    Child abuse is about power and control. My three sexual abusers – all in hetero relationships, two married!) were not into me – there was no connection, it was empty.

    Views like yours just ignore victims and survivors, and scapegoat a convenient “look over there” bogeyman to avert your ignorance and your hateful and prideful views, and disparage perfectly celibate

    Power and control. Thats abuse. Thats the cover up, too!. Keeping the reputation of the church in the face of sick actions, who cares about the survivors?

  • Youre a fool. An indignant fool.

    You are the cancer in the church, your superious, self righteous attitude is what covered up the abuse

  • Again, abuse is about power and control – and again, i have first hand experience of abuse being a survivor.

    Child sex abusers arent in it for the sex, they want the power over someone. Child sex abuse has nothing to do with orientation, and the blatant majority of offenders are heterosexual

    Abusers in male dominated environments (boys schools, boys choirs) will abuse boys – its all about availabilitu. But dont forget girls were abused too…

    But i dont think you can see the survivors for all the fags. And being bi myself, well, youre causing undue pain in your need to divide and disparage.

    Be informed, not an ignorant fool. Your hate betrays you

  • And thats good! Thats the news that is needed. That, along with opening up the box of secrets, being transparent, is the way forward.

    And its what survivors and other people want to see, a directive from up top to bishops to air the dirty laundry, set a path through the crisis, because more AG’s are opening investigations!

    If the hierarchy waits for AG’s and Grand Juries, its going to face more outrage headlines, more people saying “give transparency” and if none is forthcoming, expect criticism upon criticism upon criticism.

    Thanks for the good news, on my side in Oz there are good changes in play, and speaking up for them . But it cant be up to investigators to come through the church door and drag the bishop and his secrets box kicking and screaming to court, or up to laity to evangelise of changes and progress.

    People in the hierarchy hid it away. People in the hierarchy need to reveal the secrets and show the changes, to set the course straight – along with public prayers and penance for forgiveness. Just doing the last is lip service

  • Your opinion doesnt help, and worse, ignores survivors and victims

    If any kibosh needs laying down its bishopric secreting away of documents, and bishops taking off their hats and cloaks, and laying down their crosiers and censers, and preaching the church’s sins, pleading forgiveness, and showing the changes made.

    Its better than just dismissing faiths and ringing the bell of taoism, as youve just done

  • Coverup is about power and control.

    This abuse is about lust, pure and simple and ugly.

    otherwise you’d see a far different balance between the victims sex. It’s nearly all same sex.

  • If it were about power you’d see a far different distribution of the victims sex, more balanced.

    As it is, it’s nearly all same sex.

    That’s lust and depravity.

    Just look at the perps. sodomy had taken their dignity away.

  • This is his boilerplate comment that he cuts & pastes throughout the comments on this website. There isn’t any intelligence involved, it’s a waste of time to attempt to read.

  • I read an interesting piece on this stuff by a fellow who is a “computational biologist”. He pointed out that there are far more non-Catholic clergy in the US than Catholic clergy, but the number of accused Catholic clergy vastly outnumbers non-Catholic clergy.

  • It’s clear that in the past, one of the key goals of the church has been to protect itself. Period. Protect itself, protect the abusers, and to hell with the victims.

    Will that change? Given how dense Catholic clergy have been in the past about the value of being forthright, don’t count on it.

  • You would know… being the dysfunctional, conflicted, self-loathing closet case that you are. But your spin is self-destructive.

  • No. It’s the sodomites who seem self destructive. They empty themselves of the human dignity that God had originally put in them, hoping they would become fecund, and then they grow sadder and so many off themselves. Mental health epidemic.

  • The Great Kibosh is condensed reality based on the studies of exegetes of the last 200 years. Please feel free to promulgate to all your friends and relatives. By eliminating religion, there will be no more victims of abuse in any form by religious leaders .

  • Actually, 100% of priests are gay because they engage in same-sex masturbation. Unless they have a female right hand, that is. Which would, however, challenge binary models of sexuality. Unless the hand came from a transplant, of course. But if the donor weren’t in the state of grace, there’s no telling what (s)he used the donated hand for. And suppose the guy is left-handed? Or GAY! So if a good Catholic has a hand transplanted from a gay donor, how can he be sure what that hand will do when he’s not looking? And if the hand engages in lust, is the recipient guilty, or the donor? Would a Sodomite eventually need a hemorrhoid transplant? How about a Gomorrhite?

    It’s all in the John Jay Report. Not the real one, the one that says all child molesters are gay.

  • “Actually, 100% of priests are gay because they engage in same-sex masturbation.”

    That would involve narcissism rather than homosexuality.

    “Which would, however, challenge binary models of sexuality.”

    Which you’ve stated you reject.

    Bitter, bitter, bitter.

  • Not a bad analysis, father Reese. But here are three more possibilities.

    Someone is better at hiding it.

    Children are not such easy targets any more. But that doesn’t mean that the priests are still honoring their vows.

    The desire to blame The (imaginary) Lavender Mafia, and the tendency to scapegoat gay men in general for the sins of the priesthood is having its desired effect.

  • No one comes here to read neo-Freudisms badly recycled.

    Things that were made well from the beginning can be renewed (homes, cars, souls) but Freud? A work of the shallowly developed.

    Read elsewhere and go deeper man.

  • As has been pointed out to you many times before…

    The sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts was 100% same sex. And the abusers were men who declared themselves to be heterosexual, were heterosexually married, and were considered heterosexual by themselves, their families, their community, and the Boy Scouts Organization..

  • We talking about priests and the homosexual predators.

    No need to pray for a topic shift.

    The sodomites seem to destroy everything they touch, then they cover up, and shrivel up.

  • That “access” argument went limp when altar girls came on the scene years ago.

    But the 80+ % same sex attraction/predation on post pubescents young men has continued, NEVER ABATING in %.

  • The naked hatred of gay people which you are happy to profess has caused far more problems in society than anything gay people have ever done, even if everything we have ever done was directed solely at harming others.

    But I long ago learned it is useless to try to convince unrepentant bigots otherwise.

  • Stop judging what’s in my heart.

    Francis just said this week to accuse yourself before you accuse yourself. Listen to these points of his.

    Stop judging
    Accuse yourself first.

    I have no hate. I want everyone to be able to draw closer to the source of all goodness, truth, and beauty not just in the hereafter, but now, today.

    One can’t be doing that if one is misusing the gifts that God gave for disordered pleasure and comfort seeking. Can’t happen.

  • There is a lot of truth here, but not the whole truth. There have been cases where the hand has been attached to a nun, making the priest and the nun heterosexual. These, of course, would be the exceptions that proves the rule.

  • But if the priest who receives the nun’s hand tries to say Mass, will he speak Latin with a woman’s voice? Will the bread and wine get up and run away? Or is the “extra” x chromosome transubstantiated into a Y chromosome, so the Mass will be valid for transsexuals? If not, can he call bingo with that hand? Does “O-69” mean what I think it does?

  • The Church can’t move until it faces the truth.

    It can’t do that until Francis allows the truth to come out, and to set a more heroic example of truth seeking and openess.

    And so the modernist movements of Francis have now STALLED.

    He’ll never be seen as the reformer he so dreamed about…since he’s wrapped up in a huge predatory homosexual mess with an accompany homosexual coverup to boot, and he’s also had 5 years to do something about it and he plainly didn’t do anything about it, but to draw the predators even closer to him, giving them (incredibly) more influence in the Church!

    He owes his pontificate to them.

    He’s a kept pontiff! How sad. No good can come from such a pontificate.

    The little headwind he had is gone.

  • Indeed.

    But as an atheist raised Jewish homosexual Mr. Ben has no idea at all what actually goes on at the parish level, or any level for that matter.

  • The scandal is no longer about the criminal sexual abuse of children and young people. It is now about the deep rooted sexually immorality n the Church – at all levels. Given what has now come to light, each bishop should publish details of all reports of sexual assaults against seminarians and all other credible allegations of sexually exploitative relationships by priests, or where priests have been unchaste, whether criminal or not.

  • These are all good questions, but they need to be answered by the Church’s theologians and canon lawyers who specialize in nuns’ hands. What we do know is that as long as the nun’s hand is not gluten-free, her hand is valid. And as long as the priest’s receptor is not gluten-free, his receptor is valid. Beyond that, we need someone with the manly experience and authority of Cardinal Burke to give definitive answers to your questions. Perhaps you could send him a dubia. But put a man’s signature on it so that he knows it is official.

  • Ah, one from the enemies list: Cardinal Burke.

    I’ve asked this before, and did not get an answer:

    Exactly what is your complain with manly men and womanly women?

  • There is nothing facetious about the sacerdotal value and necessity of gluten. Cardinal Sarah told us so.

  • It is a lot easier to keep credibility than to get it back after losing it. The hierarchy had the chance to keep credibility in 2002-3, but instead they forced Frank Keating’s resignation. Now the RC hierarchy is totally screwed. And they richly deserve it.

  • That has absolutely nothing to do with Freud. It’s well-known from years of research and study that closeted homosexual men are beset with homophobia and obsession regarding homosexuality — as you are.

  • Apparently the notion of “matter” in a sacrament is over your pay grade.

    The necessity for the bread to be made from actual wheaten flour precedes Cardinal Sarah by centuries.

  • Well, so much for them.

    Now that the “RC hierarchy” that you’ve been ranting about for two decades “is totally screwed”, you’ll have to find something else to kvetch about.

    I’d like to say we’ll miss, but …..

  • Lol. And this “well known” factoid comes from the same disciplines who categorized sodomites as having a mental illness 30-40 years ago?


    They were more right then.

  • More self-loathing projection. You’re a sick, sick human here to post your pathetic hate speech against an entire segment of humanity.

  • Ooo… “disordered pleasure and comfort seeking”… You must have gotten the biggest boner writing that. Your smelly, sanctimonious self-righteousness is a big fat offense against the source of all goodness, truth and beauty.

  • Tommy doesn’t believe that. In his last incarnation as “Thomas Aquinas 2015”, he insisted that the number of perpetrators in the priesthood was a small fraction, and so too the number of gay men. He is obsessed with homosexuality, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why that is.

  • Then please tell us all why the drastic drop in abuse claims aligns with the influx of gay men entering seminaries. Sexual abuse is about power and control. Sexual abuse of children very frequently does not align with one’s adult orientation. It is more frequently about access and whether the victim will be believed.

  • You really are not well informed. Why don’t you do some research on who is abusing who in Africa and Latin America. I bet you didn’t know that Paul VI gave a dispensation to nuns in Africa to use birth control precisely because priests were using convents as their personal brothels.

  • Actually the data don’t show that at all. New cases continue to involve priests and young men, at the 80% level. Old cases…examining the PA report show the same %.

  • Good article but it failed to mention two critical points: 1. The role of the police. The process focuses on internal church investigations of acts that are criminal felonies according to the laws of the state. It never mentions if and when the police should be informed. 2. It never states clearly that the acts of cover up by nearly every bishop were crimes according to the laws of the state. The entire bench of bishops are under suspicion as criminals who should be arrested. Except for the statute of limitation. But the statute of limitation is no longer in force in NY State in regard to rape. NY State, with the required cooperation of county district attorneys, is now investigating all its Catholic dioceses. Perhaps we will see a bishop or two go to prison. The Catholic church spent millions to lobby against eliminating the statute of limitations in NY State in regard to rape. Fortunately the Catholic church’s hierarchy has lost its clout in NY State as a political force that can get its way with deferential politicians.

  • I did not slide in ‘everyone knows’. I specifically stated I bet ‘you didn’t know’. I still have my money down on you didn’t know about the special dispensation of Paul VI.

  • So you can’t provide USCCB comparable report (year to year) to buttress your drive by “everybody knows…” point? Got it.

    Adjust your opinion in line with the data you actually have in hand and you will appear more intelligent and better informed.

  • Do you even know what comment you are responding too? Please find one comment on this thread where I used the words ‘everyone knows’.

  • You said the problem and my suggested cause didn’t explain the problems in Africa or Latin America.

    And I told you to put data on the table.

    And now you’re trying to tel me confused when the fact is you’re short on intellectual ammo

  • How do you arrive at the conclusion that “the drastic drop in abuse claims aligns with the influx of gay men entering seminaries”?

  • “Paul VI gave a dispensation to nuns in Africa to use birth control precisely because priests were using convents as their personal brothels” is the sort of thing that they tell in back alleys, the former Comments section at National “Catholic” Reporter, and at Bilgrimage. One ought to expand one’s reading:


    “But the Pope was clearly referring to artificial contraception in the example he gave regarding nuns at risk of rape in Africa. Melissa Moschella, a philosophy professor at The Catholic University of America, told CNA that, in that case, the dispensation for the nuns was ‘not really an exception, if you understand the rule.’”

    “The case in question took place in the early 1960s, when the Vatican granted a dispensation to religious sisters living in the Belgian Congo who were in grave danger of rape due to civil unrest to use oral contraceptives.”

    “Moschella explained that, in cases of rape, from a moral perspective, the victim has not engaged in a sexual act, and so the act of violence is a ‘violation of the woman’s body without any free choice or acceptance on her part.’”

    “Birth control, she said, is immoral because it violates the very nature of sex by trying to engage in sex without the natural possibility of pregnancy. ‘But that doesn’t happen in the case of rape,’ Moschella stressed, because there has been ‘no voluntary sex act on the part of the woman.’”

    “As a result, artificial birth control would be viewed not as an immoral contraceptive measure seeking to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of sex, but, rather, part of an act of self-defense, as the women seek to resist the act altogether.”

    No brothels, no priests, pretty much nothing to see here.

  • I don’t know what his past incarnation has anything to do with it other than people flagged him for no reason – I always think he’s pretty insightful.
    Anyway, when it’s 29 homosexual anti-Christian posters against two or three other guys; yeah, I think there going to be a lot of gay talk.

  • One part of this issue was pointed out in another article can’t remember if it was on this website or the Alternet website. BUT it explained how Catholic doctrines, written policies, have protected the church from harm. Until those formal policies are changed, re-written, the problems will continue. The Church placed the needs of the institution (to preserve its wealth and authority) over the needs of the people it was created to serve.

  • You and your special friend Tommy are rabidly anti-gay, and don’t pretend that you’re not. To clarify, I’m not “anti-Christian”; I’m “anti-FAKE-Christian”.

  • What does that even mean? It’s for extremists only. You’re anti-human. And you’re online all day.

  • The interesting part about Lao Tze is that, if he existed, he very likely was the Chinese counterpart of the Greek Sophists (or, possibly, Cynics). I mean, what else can one expect, if one’s notion of profound philosophy is to ask questions like, “Is there a difference between ‘yes’ and ‘no'” (Tao Te Ching, ch. 20)? Is it any wonder he, or his followers, cooked up legends about his birth (among other things)? 

  • Interesting also that Professor JD Crossan in his studies and conclusions published in his many books on the historic Jesus considered the possibility that Jesus got some of his ideas from traveling Greek Cynics.

  • First, let’s get our terms straight.

    Doctrines are teachings.

    Policies are procedures to cover specific situations.

    Canon Law is the legal system under which the Catholic Church operates internally.

    The Catholic Church will not be changing any doctrines.

    Had its doctrines and Canon Law been followed, the abuse situation would not have developed.

    Abusing clergy, according to Canon Law, should have been removed immediately.

    The abuse itself violated Catholic doctrine.

    Homosexual clergy should never have been ordained according to both Canon Law and Policies.

    So, until Catholic doctrines, written policies, and Canon Law are followed, the problems will continue.

    Your source was simply repeating an anti-Catholic mantra.

  • There definitely is some overlap between Jesus’ teachings and those of the Cynics. Crossan isn’t the only one to proffer this idea (Burton Mack and some others have, too, including Robert Funk, if memory serves). Especially if one looks at “Q” as the most reliable early collection of Jesus’ teachings, it’s almost undeniable there’s Cynical content in there. And some of the earliest aescetic Christians’ lifestyles were otherwise identical to those of Cynics. 

    The extent to which one can say Jesus was a Cynical sage, educated by Cynics, is an open question. We don’t know of any other Cynics living in Galilee in the last century BCE or 1st century CE. There were some, in that period, in the Decapolis district across the Jordan, but we can only speculate that he spent time there. 

    Without getting too deep in the weeds, it’s an interesting topic, and one I’ve been looking into for decades. I’m still not sure I’m sold on the idea that Jesus’ primary philosophy, and the focus of his teachings, was Cynicism. But as I said, there’s undeniable Cynical content in there. 

  • Keeping in mind that by Professor Crossan’s rigorous historic testing analysis, only 33% of the NT is authentic. By Professor Luedemann’s enhanced rigorous historic testing, it is only 10% authentic.

  • Well, that is why I mentioned that looking just at the “Q” content seems to show some Cynicism. Other portions of the NT include other notions and tropes from various other sources. For instance, parts of Paul’s 7 epistles reveal Platonic influence. Within the realm of what Crossan or even Lüdemann have concluded is “genuine,” there are lots of allusions to other influences — which is to be expected. 

    What one makes of them is the goal of scholarship … and there’s a lot of disagreement to be found. I’ve always found that fascinating, even after I left Christianity far behind. 

  • For years the Church played a game of “Hide the Pedophiles”… When they got caught they switched to a game of “Hide the Bishops and Cardinals that hid the pedophiles”…That second game is still going on and the Vatican is directing it………

  • Churches are extremely reluctant to discard any of their sacred traditions, and one of the most sacred of all Catholic Church traditions is . . .
    always protect the institution at the expense of the victims of crimes committed by their men-of-god.

  • A direct quote: “The sodomites seem to destroy everything they touch, then they cover up, and shrivel up.”

    Yup. No hate there at all.

  • The truth may hurt; but no hate.

    Hate is willing bad for people. I certainly don’t do that. Nothing in my statement is willing bad for people.

    You need a sharper mind. You must begin to make clearer distinctions.

  • Pope Francis has refused to even deny that he covered up child rape from his priests. Serious question: Why would anyone attend or give money to a church where the CEO covers up clear abuse?

  • I think the churches will reform as the society around them becomes more secular. They’ll have to. The world is becoming less reverential to the claims of these bodies.

  • “For instance, parts of Paul’s 7 epistles reveal Platonic influence.”

    Paul was familiar with Greek thought, spoke and wrote Greek, lived in a Greek world, used a Greek Torah.


  • According to http://www.sesamenet.org, one out of ten K-12 students is a victim of educator sexual misconduct. “Of children in 8th through 11th grade, about 3.5 million students (nearly 7%) surveyed reported having had physical sexual contact from an adult (most often a teacher or coach).” I don’t hear anyone talking about that. But priests, who are statistically less likely than the average male to sexually abuse children, are vilified because of the heinous acts of a minority of them. Certainly, great harm has been done to victims by priests. But I wonder if all the attention that the issue is getting comes from a desire to protect victims or from a desire to destroy the church. If it’s the former, shouldn’t there be just as much attention given to educator abuse scandals, or maybe more because it is sadly far more common?

  • Does this statute of limitation apply to all institutions or just the Catholic Church? And will the attorney general investigate public schools where the propensity to sexually abuse is greater or not?

  • I wonder if that same mentality is given to victims of child sexual abuse by teachers, i.e., are your kids in a public school because one in ten kids PRESENTLY suffer sexual abuse at the hands of teachers. And the cover ups are so bad,Carole Shakeshaft, she who investigated and studied sexual abuse within public schools said there was a term for it, it was called “passing the trash”.

    You would be hard put not to find sexual abuse in any given institution and if investigated as the Catholic Church is being investigated, the cover ups that would ensue!

    Most present day sexual abuse is happening at home, by a family member and/or an older minor and it would behoove us as a society to nip that in the bud instead of constantly focusing on decades old cases at the expense of the present day ones!

    Pedophilia is a societal problem not a Catholic one.