Friday, August 31, 2012

The Damning of the Diocese of Chichester



Predatory paedophile priests.. child abuse.. manipulation.. rape.. unimaginable psychological damage.. cover-up.. continued failings..

One has (sadly) become more than used to reading such accounts within the Roman Catholic Church, but this is the Church of England - the Diocese of Chichester, to be precise. Thankfully, it's a one-off, peculiar to Chichester (and there isn't a hint of blaming the teen-victims for seducing the vicar), but one is one too many in the Holy Church of Christ. It is appalling, damning, and utterly inexcusable.

An interim report by the Archbishop of Canterbury's office talks of the 'abiding hurt and damage' caused by 'an appalling history' of 'dysfunctional' local safeguarding measures, which had fallen 'woefully short' for two decades.

Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC, who are leading the inquiry, wrote: "It has been particularly distressing to us to have met people whose lives have been deeply wounded by the abuse they have suffered at the hands of clergy and of lay people holding positions of responsibility in the Church. Sadly, these wounds often refuse to heal.

"It is clear to us that many lives have been blighted. Some have sought justice through the courts of law. Clergy have gone to prison for their abuse of children. We are clear that those who have sought justice through the courts are but the tip of the iceberg."

Tip of the iceberg? Two decades? Jesus wept. How in the name of Christ can the measures for safeguarding the wellbeing of children have been deficient for 20 years?

Episcopal polity is localism in action: it brings church governance nearer the people. When it fails, the temptation is to centralise - to impose structures and assert the aloof and hierarchical. This is now the mode of governance to which Chichester is subject: henceforth, Lambeth Palace will oversee clergy appointments and the protection of children and vulnerable adults in the diocese.

As appalling as this is, it is important to keep it in perspective: we are not talking about a national Church of England failing or an international Anglican one. But when one part of the body is wounded or infected, we are all hurting and livid with fever.

His Grace understands that this report is the first of its kind in the Church of England for over a century. One wonders now if that is a blessing or a failing. It calls for 'a radical change of culture in the diocese – one in which the sanctity, dignity and well being of children and vulnerable adults is openly and transparently at its heart'. The sickening thing is that this ought to be a given: it is like demanding a change of culture in the diocese in order to reflect the radiance of Christ.

Of the victims, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: "The abiding hurt and damage done to them is something that none of us in the Church can ignore, and I am deeply sorry that they should have been let down by those they ought to have been able to trust."

His Grace is sorry, too. Deeply, profoundly sorry.

112 Comments:

Blogger _ said...

Thankfully, it's a one-off, peculiar to Chichester

That's what was said when the RC Boston cases broke in the US, so forgive me if I don't share your optimism on that front. I'm also not terribly optimistic about the RC/CofE distinction being made by most of the unchurched masses. For them, it's just more "evidence" that minister of religion are sexually suspect.

31 August 2012 at 10:22  
Blogger Kevill Davies said...

Where was God when all this was taking place? Had He or She no compassion for the victims?

31 August 2012 at 10:39  
Blogger mary said...

A beautiful response, but the recommendations are as you say so basic that one wonders that they are not already policy.
I attend a small community church of the anabaptist tradition. Over half the congregation has CRB checks, at times it may seem like overkill, but the pastors wife, who is in charge of our child protection policy, insists on it.
We have a nominated child welfare officer, who is known to all the children, who is available should any child wish to disclose, and yearly training on child protection issues, open to all who wish to attend.
This is a church with a membership of 60. We draw on the experience of teachers and other professions within membership.
If we are doing this, with the aim of keeping children safe, how on Earth wasn't it standard policy in Chicester?

31 August 2012 at 10:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


One is convinced that the CoE is as hamstrung on the Christian sentiment of forgiveness as much as the RCC was in this context.

The problem being, that forgiveness at it’s most complete must include handing over to the civil authorities as much as any absolution by a superior cleric...

31 August 2012 at 10:46  
Blogger Tony B said...

I find it hard to believe that Chichester is the only Diocese to be blighted so: more revelations will follow, I am sure.

31 August 2012 at 11:32  
Blogger Albert said...

It is truly amazing, that in responding to such tragic news in the CofE that Cranmer cannot help himself, but still has to make (albeit quite subtle) attacks on the Catholic Church.

Child abuse, is, tragically, something that is a risk wherever adults have contact with children. Where abuse has been studied exhaustively (such as in the US) abuse by Catholic clergy has been found to be a far lower rates than the in the general population, and at lower rates than equivalent professions.

The secular (and sometimes Protestant) tendency to try to make child abuse a Catholic issue leaves children at risk. As Cranmer writes:

As appalling as this is, it is important to keep it in perspective: we are not talking about a national Church of England failing or an international Anglican one. But when one part of the body is wounded or infected, we are all hurting and livid with fever.

In response, I refer to the first comment on this thread, but I also refer to the report itself:

(i) Contrary to popular opinion, the Church of England is far more monolithic in its administration than is the Catholic Church. Dioceses are far less autonomous. Consequently, if the Diocese of Chichester was failing in its child-protection work for a couple of decades (and especially recently) this ought to have been picked up by the wider Church. It wasn't. This leaves the impression of institutional inadequacy, an impression deepened by some direct references to the report itself:

(ii) The report refers to examples of similar failings of procedure in other dioceses (though, as far as one can see, without actually harm to children).

(iii) As the report says: Unfortunately, some of the problems relating to safeguarding in Chichester flow from the safeguarding position in that wider Church (as identified in this report and our
recommendations. We have therefore found it necessary to place our recommendations within that wider framework.


(iv) Extraordinarily:

in the Church in Wales a cleric may be suspended in appropriate cases even before a formal complaint has been made under its disciplinary procedures but this is not at present possible in the Church of England. Indeed, a suspension cannot be imposed in the Church of England until either an actual arrest has occurred or a formal complaint has
actually been laid and, having received the diocesan registrar‟s report, the bishop has decided
not to dismiss that complaint. This position may be exacerbated by the fact that any criminal matters should be investigated and resolved by the relevant civil authorities before any related disciplinary proceedings under the Measure are resolved. Indeed, such investigations may mean that no formal complain may be lodged (or at least proceeded with)
until after the relevant civil authorities have finished their investigations. In addition, if the
civil authorities decide that there is insufficient evidence on which to institute criminal proceedings, further time may necessarily elapse before a complaint under the 2003 Measure can be laid. All this is likely to take a considerable time. Indeed, in historic abuse cases a
further delay may occur even after the complaint has been laid during which the permission of the President of Tribunals is sought in order to institute proceedings outside the twelve month limitation period.


What this means is that, after all that has happened, the CofE is still not signed up to the paramouncy principle.

(v) the law of the Church of England is presently not in line with the rest of the civil law of employment and needs urgently to be addressed.

Twenty years ago, these kinds of failings would have been understandable. Not today.

31 August 2012 at 11:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Cont.


In short, if the report does not refer to abuse and failings in other parts of the CofE this is simply because they were not in its remit (except indirectly - as indicated). It may be of course, that all is well elsewhere, but that will only be because of (i) good luck and/or (b) the goodness of the work of other dioceses, rather of the procedures and oversight of the CofE as a whole.

These failings may nevertheless have had one good outcome: they may perhaps inspire people to focus more on the safety of children, rather than on the failings which the Catholic Church so plainly shares with everyone else. However, this good outcome will not come to fruition so long as Anglicans take solace in the so painfully, and tragically familiar refrain of

Thankfully, it's a one-off, peculiar to Chichester

31 August 2012 at 11:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Anyone still labouring under the assumption that these problems are unique to the Catholic Church and the Anglican Diocese of Chichester, may like to consult the following pages:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1566826/C-of-E-child-abuse-was-ignored-for-decades.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6594439.stm

http://www.no2abuse.com/index.php/articles/comments/church-of-england-news-release-on-kendall-house-abuse-cover-up-accusations/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-13560976

I assume I don't need to give pages of evidence from non-religious organisations and individuals?

31 August 2012 at 11:40  
Blogger John Chater said...

Well said Albert.

At last the truth is beginning to emerge about the state of child protection during the 70s, 80s and 90s; namely that it didn't really exist.

The Catholic Church has been the first to bear the brunt of revelations about its inability to protect the children in its care (and it would be absurd to say that certain elements in the media have not delighted in pretending that child abuse is a specifically Catholic problem, which it demonstrably is not). Not just the CofE, but mosques, synagogues and the innumerable secular organisations (both state and private) responsible for the care of children during this period will all have their turn in the spotlight as victims begin to find voice.

The challenge then, for those who would like this to be a Roman problem, will be to accept that such behaviour was, for a time, widespread and unaddressed, with no particular blame singularly attachable to any particular group.

As for the Catholic Church – it has done a great deal to get its house in order, has admitted the dreadful failings of the past thirty years, has apologised (may times and at all levels of the organisation) and has paid out millions in compensation. Let's see how other organisations respond.

As for Fr Benedict Groeschel, whom His Grace couldn't resist sticking it to his second paragraph, read http://www.catholicleague.org/fr-groeschel-under-fire/ for an alternative interpretation. By no sane standard can he be described as a bad man.

31 August 2012 at 12:25  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

I very much doubt that this is the extent of the problem - and there are plenty of evangelical sects where church leaders have similiarly abused positions of trust (just read Elmer Gantry to see that it has been going on for a long time). It is more to do with giving those positions of authority to people together with the ability to reinterpret the beliefs and values of the sect concerned to suit their own interests - the same phenomenom occurs in both the political and commercial worlds. The honest answer is that we need to encourage people to think for themselves and not to accept authority blindly.

31 August 2012 at 12:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Tory boy,

It is more to do with giving those positions of authority to people together with the ability to reinterpret the beliefs and values of the sect concerned to suit their own interests

No, you are just making the same irresponsible mistake as Cranmer. You wish to hang this problem on the people you don't like so that your own position can be elevated.

If this were a religious problem, then the clergy would abuse more than the general population. As it is, even in America, where clerical abuse clearly got out of control, an independent report by criminologists found that Catholic priests abuse far less than the general population. The cause of the abuse according to this report was the liberalisation of attitudes following Vatican II. The BBC reports that biological fathers are 36 times more likely to abuse than celibate priests. The extent of cover-ups in non-religious organisations like schools and the scouts is terribly widespread.

So stop trying to use the suffering of children to score points against people you don't like, and start putting children first. I recognise that it may be psychologically painful to accept that Catholics and religious people are not the villains you want us to be, and to accept that non-religious organisations have harboured perverts, but if you are serious about protecting children, you will agree it is a price worth paying.

31 August 2012 at 13:10  
Blogger Albert said...

John Chater,

it would be absurd to say that certain elements in the media have not delighted in pretending that child abuse is a specifically Catholic problem, which it demonstrably is not.

Quite, and the strategy has clearly paid off. What is odd, is that people like Cranmer and others are quite happy to play this game, even though they must realise that the aim of it is not just to damage Catholicism but religion in general (including Protestant Christianity) - as Tory boy has now so helpfully confirmed.

So even if those Protestants who go on about priests abusing do not wish to change their message for the sake of children in the care of their institutions, they might at least like to change it for the sake of self-preservation.

31 August 2012 at 13:14  
Blogger ECusick said...

http://rt.com/usa/news/catholic-priest-excuses-molesters-005/. And on that note

31 August 2012 at 13:22  
Blogger Albert said...

Keep up ECusick, we've been through that already.

31 August 2012 at 13:29  
Blogger Katie said...

Thanks Albert !!!

31 August 2012 at 13:58  
Blogger ECusick said...

I was just posting it because it was relevant. I know that the rate of child sexual abuse is comparitively widespread on schools/state care homes as within catholic churches. The difference is that the Catholic Church has been ham-fisted in trying to put in safeguards for positions that would naturally attract paedophiles whereas the state care/schools have put in [extremely obtrusive and over the top] checks and vetting.

Alos I know that a minority of physical/sexual abuse is carried out by non-related family members.

31 August 2012 at 14:00  
Blogger Manfarang said...

John Wrenshall was convicted in 1997 of sexually assaulting eight choir boys in Calgary.

Pretending he was researching pre-teen boys’ sexuality, he lured his victims to his southwest home while he was serving as a scout master and a choir member at an Anglican church. He was jailed for a year.

31 August 2012 at 14:01  
Blogger Preacher said...

The time to clean house is way overdue. Apologies & compensation will not do. Burning incriminating files makes the man responsible an accomplice & he should also face the consequences of attempting to cover up such grossly evil activity.
Many young people feel ashamed, frightened & even partly responsible & guilty when faced with an adult predator in a position of trust, respect & authority. But they MUST tell & confide in somebody, & that person has a responsibility to act on the accusation & investigate. If the case is proved the perpetrator should face the courts & be sentenced.
From the beginning, there have been wolves in sheep's clothing that seek to attack the flock, but the greater crime is to cover up the guilty to protect the organisation. Be sure your sins will find you out!.

31 August 2012 at 14:09  
Blogger Albert said...

ECusik,

The difference is that the Catholic Church has been ham-fisted in trying to put in safeguards for positions that would naturally attract paedophiles whereas the state care/schools have put in [extremely obtrusive and over the top] checks and vetting.

Historically, everyone has got this wrong. Now, the Catholic Church is particularly fierce on it. If you are a teacher in the UK you need CRB. If you wish to be a priest, you have to go on a residential course of psychological testing as well as CRB.

Similarly, despite Cranmer's digs at Catholicism, the report he is appealing to actually recommends following Catholic procedures (in this case from Australia).

So your view is violently contradicted by the evidence. Neither does your position seem any more evidential if you layer it with the confused expressions of an elderly, ill and far away priest on the subject, which have been condemned by the relevant Catholic authorities.

If you are serious about protecting children, you need to challenge your own confirmation bias and start looking at the real evidence.

31 August 2012 at 14:10  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I am very surprised to hear of this one off event. I thought this type of thing only occured with Catholic paedophile priests and that Protestant vicars were pure as the driven snow as we are led to believe.

There may be a possibility that this is not a one off event after all and that Catholicism is being demonised by its secular and Protestant enemies.Let's face it,Protestants are no friends to Catholics.I live with an Anglican and he has told me how Anglicans are raised to loathe Catholics.

31 August 2012 at 14:12  
Blogger Preacher said...

The important thing here is not the Catholics, Protestants, Boy Scouts, Boys Brigade etc. it's the victims & how to safeguard them. That's the issue. to prosecute the guilty & protect the innocent.

31 August 2012 at 15:02  
Blogger Albert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 August 2012 at 15:20  
Blogger Albert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 August 2012 at 15:21  
Blogger Albert said...

I agree with you 100% Preacher. Every time this topic has come up, I have been saying the important thing is to put children's safety first and that the Protestant/secular comments about Catholicism have tended to be unjust, self-serving and therefore dangerous to children. The need to blame child abuse on Catholicism in general and celibacy in particular has obscured the real issues.

A serious question thus arises as to how in the present times, a diocese has been so complacent. The possibility that it is because of a belief that this problem is really a Catholic one going hand in hand with compulsory celibacy is worth considering. If that is the case, then anyone who has made hay on this matter at the expense of Catholicism, has potentially fed into a culture which has put children at risk for 20 years.

In that regard, it is to Cranmer's credit that he wrote on this topic in the first place. He has often commented on Catholic abuse but usually shied away from acknowledging the problem in the CofE. Hopefully, this post signals a change of tone. But he still has some way to go - as his underlying impression of “at least it’s only one diocese, unlike the Catholic Church" indicates.

31 August 2012 at 15:27  
Blogger non mouse said...

Your Grace, in the video you posted yesterday "Sir Rhode" and Ali G indicate that the problem occurs/occurred in secular schools.

The abuse is not, as modern anti-Christians have it, confined to religious organisations of any denomination. Indeed, the kind of education governments are forcing on our young children nowadays is an authoritarian, official version of the same thing.

As other commenters observe, a storm is undoubtely about to be unleashed. Perhaps it will provide an opportunity for good parents to rally, to organise in refusing to submit their children to the abuse that is required by (euro) law.

31 August 2012 at 15:32  
Blogger non mouse said...

PS also, Your Grace:

We have no reason to suppose that abuse problems are new, of our own age, or even of one culture. They are deeply rooted, particularly wherever adults have charge of groups of youngsters, some of whom will suffer from Raging Hormone Syndrome (one of the reasons why young people were educated separately, by gender).

It's arguable that one of the greatest and earliest developments of abuse transpired during the need for military service. When young men in warrior societies were taken from their homes and boarded with 'lords' -- so as to learn about military and other state services -- then they trained in bands whose primary and immediate loyalty was to their brothers. Any loyalty to mothers, sisters, wives etc. became secondary to preservation of the territorial rights on which they all depended for survival.

As for the females, especially when they lost their menfolk ... well they got stuck in groups like convents. In other cultures these took the form of harems--where the guardian men were eunuchs.

My position is, therefore, that modern parents should be free to protect their children as they did when I was young. Thus, if a boy does not want to join a choir when invited (as happened with my brother) -- then decent parents do not force him [whether or not he is good-looking, or has a beautiful voice]. They do as he wishes, and they may even discover his reasons.

Similarly, if a girl is harrassed by female teachers (or other girls) ... then parents should be able to control the situation by complaining and participating, very actively, in their student-teacher organisations.

Boarding schools presumably evolved from the old military/governmental and hostel situations. Control by individual parents may be more difficult when boarding institutions are involved, especially if the children are orphans who have nowhere else to turn--the abuse may be almost traditional by this stage of 'civilisation.' That's surely why many parents choose day schools.

The answer though, does not lie in government bureaucracy and authoritarian enforcement. It certainly doesn't lie with the euSSR. Caring parents and the children themselves must retain the power in this private matter. Neither the power nor the children should be surrendered to strangers.

Mrs. King provided the reason a couple of strands back.
Genesis 6:5-6:-

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

31 August 2012 at 16:13  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Albert

I specifically made the point that this was a problem with all sects including political and corporate ones not just religous ones (google Gerry Healy of the WRP if you want an example). I also made the point that this is a problem in many religous sects - quite frankly I am not aware of any comparative league tables. As for disliking all those who use mumbo jumbo and power in order to abuse others: guilty as charged.

I am also quite happy to accept that there those who have power and who do not abuse it.

31 August 2012 at 16:16  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Preacher

Isn't it also important to teach people how to stand up for themselves and not to accept mumbo jumbo and bullying so that they don't become victims in the first place?

31 August 2012 at 16:28  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Alas the most shocking abuse is always done by the hands we are meant to trust

This whole trust mechanism needs reviewing, our trust needs removing from the very bodies that are claiming to be trustworthy both church and state

A few good apples in a rotten barrel are not a good reason to trust, sling the barrel, start again and this time we play by our rules

31 August 2012 at 16:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Tory boy,

I specifically made the point that this was a problem with all sects including political and corporate ones not just religous ones

Yes, I was perfectly aware of the fact that you referred to political and corporate as well as religious bodies. However, what gave the game away was the line of your that I quoted:

It is more to do with giving those positions of authority to people together with the ability to reinterpret the beliefs and values of the sect concerned to suit their own interests

and I could have added:

The honest answer is that we need to encourage people to think for themselves and not to accept authority blindly.

The fact that you used the word "sects" of secular institutions, rather than the more usual "bodies" or "organisations" confirms that you have in your sights religious organisations and are happy to lump guilty secular organisations as religious if it suits. You have now added "mumbo jumbo" to your list of accusations - again a fairly widespread and uncritical term secularists use of religious people.

Now this accusation that religious people blindly accept authority without thinking for themselves, is (ironically) regulation issue for those who blindly, uncritically and without thinking for themselves accept the latest secular prejudices.

quite frankly I am not aware of any comparative league tables

Well that's rather compromising, under the circumstances. For although there are clearly not league tables, it is possible to draw conclusions about the amount of abuse there is about. The Catholic Church for example, keeps excellent records on just about everything and in countries like the UK and the US these have been disclosed. It is similarly possible to get an idea of abuse from other sources, such as records of accusations and prosecutions in relation to schools, and indeed, from the insurance companies who end up having to pay out when an adult is convicted. Consequently, it is possible to draw conclusions on the comparative rates of abuse (and cover up) in different portions of society.

So forgive me: it still looks as if you are following the contemporary zeitgeist on this matter: drawing conclusions against religious people without (or rather, in the face of) evidence to back it up. Merely acknowledging that abuse goes on in other places does little to alter that impression.

But if you are serious about getting to the facts of this matter, a good (and entirely non-Catholic) place to begin would be:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2011/may/21/child-abuse-catholicism-johnjayinstitute

31 August 2012 at 16:48  
Blogger Preacher said...

Albert.
Thank you. I shudder to think what sort of Pandoras box will be opened as the children in infant school lose their innocence under the proscribed teaching of successive governments whose main moral standing is "do as you please, everything goes", a paedophiles charter if ever there was one.

Tory Boy.
A child is naturally trusting & has to rely on the protection of adults until they learn to discern right from wrong & can physically defend themselves against sexual predators.
Bullying is never acceptable & nor is mumbo jumbo.

31 August 2012 at 16:53  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Dr Cranmer’s little swipes at the Catholic Church at every opportunity he can lay his hands on does make me chuckle.

Sadly perverts are attracted to all professions involving children but maybe moreso to the priesthood because of the ease with which it has been covered up. The vetting process of candidates for the Anglican Church should be overhauled. Also all children should be informed of Esther Ranson’s child line number which they can ring in confidence if they are being abused.
There it can be passed on to the police to quietly investigate.

Let's hope all those who were abused don't go on to abuse. What counselling measures are there in place break the cycle and stop this happening?

31 August 2012 at 17:04  
Blogger Albert said...

Marie,

Sadly perverts are attracted to all professions involving children but maybe moreso to the priesthood because of the ease with which it has been covered up.

No - see the evidence I have already cited. The impression that clergy abuse more is a consequence of things like (i) it is more scandalous and thus more reported (ii) it suits secularists (and sometimes Protestants) to give the impression that (Catholic) clergy abuse more. In fact, they abuse less and cover ups have occurred more or less everywhere.

The vetting process of candidates for the Anglican Church should be overhauled.

As this is done nationally, I expect this process is already pretty solid, though whether it includes the psychological testing Catholics now have to go through, I don't know. Can anyone shed any light on that?

31 August 2012 at 17:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Preacher,

I shudder to think what sort of Pandoras box will be opened as the children in infant school lose their innocence under the proscribed teaching of successive governments whose main moral standing is "do as you please, everything goes", a paedophiles charter if ever there was one.

Quite, it's very paradoxical. These days, as you say more or less anything goes except for paedophilia, which is greeted with utter horror (rightly - although it was perhaps tolerated in ancient times).

Earlier generations seem to have had an almost opposite view: serious sobriety about sexuality in generation, but little concern about paedophilia.

We know of the harm done by the instability of the older view. What damage is being by the newer one? It's clear that, matters of sexuality, we are not out of the woods.

31 August 2012 at 17:18  
Blogger Albert said...

Sorry that should have read "sexuality in general".

31 August 2012 at 17:19  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Can I at this stage put in a little plug for His Grace. He did get off to some extent on the wrong foot but he has been gracious enough to include criticism of one of his comments.

I am sure that the same problems exist among the Jews and Muslims and in society in general. What seems ineffective is limiting the criticism to how institutions respond and not to consider how the society we are creating (by throwing out traditional moral norms) has promoted the likely increase of this behaviour and silenced people in the past who have argued that if homosexuality is wrong we should be very reticent about putting homosexuals in positions where they have access to youngsters. It all sounded so intolerant back then and now we are reaping what we have sown.

31 August 2012 at 18:06  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

Perhaps the C of E has less problems than the RC church because we have married clergy. Most Vicars' wives get involved in church affairs and in the case of one locally, know far more about what is going on that the Vicar.
As a local bell-ringer, we are inundated by directives, many of which are pointless, but no check is made that we are obeying them (which we are in general terms but not in detail) So believing that it would be very difficult to do anything wrong in a crowd of ten or more bell-ringers, we have simply decided that none of us will collect or take children home, as was once the case, and that a parent must be present during the initial one-to-one teaching when some contact with the learner is inevitable if you have to grab the rope in a hurry!
But nothing is risk free, we simply hope we have done our best to minimise it.
At another local church, where the Vicar insisted that all his ringers were CRB cleared, which they considered overkill, he now has no ringers and the bells are largely silent with knock-on effects such as a huge drop in the number of weddings!
Common Sense is the most important thing required which sadly seems lacking in those at the top.

31 August 2012 at 18:28  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

What a predictable fuss and smokescreen from Albert to defend the indefensible truth, that Roman Catholicism in particular has done more to damage humanity than any other religion dreampt up by modern man. In his heart he knows he cares less about the victims than he does for the 'image' of his church.

Judaism, Christianity, Islam - what a sorry legacy this evil trinity of deceit and despotism have visited on humanity in the name of political ambition.

31 August 2012 at 18:30  
Blogger ECusick said...

"Protestants are no friends to Catholics."

We arn't? Ok then, apparently I hate Catholics, good to know.

31 August 2012 at 18:42  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

What a predictable fuss and smokescreen from Albert to defend the indefensible truth, that Roman Catholicism in particular has done more to damage humanity than any other religion dreampt up by modern man. In his heart he knows he cares less about the victims than he does for the 'image' of his church.

What an absolutely appalling charge for you to make. I merely note two things:

(i) I have a particular interest in this question because I have children. As every comment I have made on the subject has shown, my key interest is not to defend my church or to attack anyone else's but to seek the truth which will help us to deal with this problem, wherever it is found.

(ii) My posts thus make regular references to the one thing your post avoids entirely: evidence.

31 August 2012 at 18:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Uncle Joe Dreadnaught, chairman of the East Lancashire peoples liberation army (canal dwellers section) wants to rid humanity of religion and give us the peace and tranquillity of atheism. Show of hands then chaps. We also thought DanJ0 might have jumped on this long runner too, but one suspects he dozed off after re-reading his recent offerings over the past few days.

Now, as a fellow who does not wish to make capital of the suffering of young people at the hands of adults, the decent approach, there IS something we can do.

Make any knowledge of child abuse which is not passed on a criminal offence. A SERIOUS criminal offence. Announce it to the country now. Let the bishops who are concealing dark secrets sweat several buckets before handing themselves in. Of course, the earlier they come forward, the more lenient we can be. This will be a lasting and final solution to the problem. Harsh ? Of course it’s bloody harsh, but we are talking child abuse here !

31 August 2012 at 18:56  
Blogger Albert said...

English Pensioner,

Perhaps the C of E has less problems than the RC church because we have married clergy.

Not likely, if the CofE has fewer problems in this (and we don't know) it is because it is far smaller and has far fewer children. At least, this is the lesson the insurers give.

This is why it is important (Dreadnaught, please note) to get to the bottom of the issues - otherwise all you do is feed the complacency that has perhaps allowed Chichester diocese to fail so greatly in this area.

31 August 2012 at 19:00  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Dreadnaught makes a good point, in that inevitably these matters get sidelined or hushed up, in order to protect the image of the church or state body

Anyone caring more about the image of a corporate body, over and above the care and concern for loved ones is clearly in the wrong

But what is worse, is the deck of cards we are playing with are stacked against us, you always lose playing with the pack your opponent brought to the table

Rip the rule book up, it was written by the bad apples to protect the filth and garbage

You may get the truth out eventually but only after a damned uphill struggle and it should not be that way

31 August 2012 at 20:33  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Albert

"The fact that you used the word "sects" of secular institutions, rather than the more usual "bodies" or "organisations" confirms that you have in your sights religious organisations and are happy to lump guilty secular organisations as religious if it suits."

No it doesn't - sect like behaviour is not confined to religous groups - and I don't think that all religous groups behave like sects. Mumbo jumbo most certainly isn't confined to religous groups - some people in the corporate and political worlds hardly use anything else.

The fact that you took what I said as an attack on the RC church - when the only religous group I mentioned were evangelicals also demonstrates that you rather missed my point, which is that practically all belief groups have those in authority who seek to use the gullibility of believers to abuse their power. You are right that parents often do the same with their children (and undoubtedly to a much greater extent) - but I'm afraid that does not excuse the behaviour of the sects just because they do so to a lesser extent or mean that they should be ignored.



Preacher - I didn't disagee with your original view that the victims need to be protect from abusers or that the abusers need to be deterred by punishers - I just made the point that the potential victims also need to be told how to challenge and question.

31 August 2012 at 20:34  
Blogger Albert said...

Tory boy,

The fact that you took what I said as an attack on the RC church - when the only religous group I mentioned were evangelicals also demonstrates that you rather missed my point

I can't see how what I wrote makes you think I saw it as an attack on Catholic particularly. I saw it as an attack on religion.

that practically all belief groups have those in authority who seek to use the gullibility of believers to abuse their power.

But the point is that child abuse occurs even outside of that context, and is covered up. In other words, institutional cover-ups are not because all belief groups have those in authority who seek to use the gullibility of believers to abuse their power, but because all institutions have a sinful tendency to defend themselves in that way. That is true, whether or not they are defending some kind of belief system.

It's pretty clear why: any institution has supporters who in some sense benefit from the institution. There's nothing wrong with that, but the temptation is to hang on to that benefit at the expense of justice.

So religion, sects, belief systems don't really come into it, except insofar as they are connected to institutional interests.

So if your original post had simply spoken of institutions or groups, I would have applauded. But as it is, you wanted to sneak in a dig at "the others" who hold to belief systems.

You are right that parents often do the same with their children (and undoubtedly to a much greater extent) - but I'm afraid that does not excuse the behaviour of the sects just because they do so to a lesser extent or mean that they should be ignored.

I certainly applaud that statement, but would simply point out, that just because society as a whole has much higher abuse rates than do some groups within society does not enable society to point the finger away from themselves to such groups - especially when, so doing, results in their own children being put at risk.

We need to all stop being so partisan about all this and start focusing on making sure that future generations of children do not suffer as our generations did. But doing so may require putting away what has clearly been a devastatingly effective (if unjust) political weapon against those with whom one disagrees. As I have said already, it is surely a price worth paying.

31 August 2012 at 20:55  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Dreadnaught says Roman Catholicism in particular has done more to damage humanity than any other religion dreampt up by modern man.

Historically the RC Church has been, over the centuries, the greatest humanitarian organization the world has ever seen. If you wish to look only at the abuses then you get a distorted picture. Since the Reformation the RC Church has suffered more persecution under Protestantism than vice versa e.g. the slaughter in Ireland under Oliver Cromwell the terror under Henry, Elizabeth and James 1. Remember history is written by the victors. However you don't have to go back very far to see the evidence because it has continued into the present day. When the referendum in Ireland resulted in a vote for independence, the result was ignored and a separate and deliberately sectarian state was set up in Northern Ireland which institutionalized discrimination similar to what blacks endured in the southern United States. By contrast the Protestants in the South suffered no such discrimination. I remember a TV debate about the 'Troubles' decades ago where the Protestants who lived in the South made that precise point. We are not justifying the perverts who have shamed us but we would like an accurate historical portrayal of the damage done to humanity. Furthermore if we look beyond the confines of Christian denominations we see even worse - 32,000 women and children killed by the British in concentration camps during the Boer war. Further examples are unlimited e.g. under communism or the French Republic. Historically people have been better off under Christianity than other regimes which have shown a despotism on a scale which far surpasses the violence perpetrated under Christianity. We do not justify the faults but it is a monumental exercise in spin to say as we often hear that more violence has been committed by religion than for any other reason.

31 August 2012 at 20:57  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Sorry Boys but I am going to have to say this ... is the normalising of homosexuality, by calling it marriage, going to make it easier for child victims of pedophiles to protect themselves against adult homosexual predators or not ? I think not.

31 August 2012 at 20:59  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

...'wants to rid humanity of religion'... says the Orifice of Inspector General; Not at all I say. I am an individual atheist; a believer in secularism and democracy not theocratic fascism or dictatorial Marxism/Stalinism/Maoism or whatever ism takes yer fancy.

I hold that individuals should be free to believe in whatever they wish, just put them back in the box labelled myths and superstitions. If they find holding any such beliefs reassuring and meaningful that's ok by me, just don't expect the same preferential group treatment or privileges they have extorted and materially profited by in the past.

And yes I would love to see a world without the superstitious nonsense that compelled and still compels (especially Islam) to engage in murder, misogyny and never ending pursuit of global domination.

Albert, if it is the ultimate truth you are after, it is my contention that you won’t find it in any of the recognised religions; in as much as any one of them will claim to hold the golden key to ‘truth’ or the meaning of life or whatever . Religions can't even agree within themselves on their own structures, scripts and theatrical rituals without recourse at some time to slaughtering each other, or for that matter, the other, others. Yet, they still uniquely claim to be the only holder of the 'truth' - stands to my simple reasoning that they can't each be right while claiming the other two are wrong - but then that's the last thing religions want the human mind to do - that is to reason.

31 August 2012 at 21:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I say Mrs King, a quiet word in your perfumed shell like, if you would allow the Inspector. Keep that queer joker in your hand for now. More impact when played later, one will think you’ll find...

31 August 2012 at 21:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Rather relieved to hear of your single stance secularism Dreadnaught, but you must admit your posts come over like intensive shelling. A damn bombardment, if you will...

Oh yes and do try to discriminate between your country’s benign ‘superstitious nonsense’ and the murderous Islamic kind. Fair play, what !

31 August 2012 at 21:18  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Shacklefree:-

That's not how I or history see the record. Furthermore my remarks were directed more specifically at all religion in reference to the damage done to humanity.

31 August 2012 at 21:20  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Fair play indeed Inspector, but must confess to being a tad jaded by so much bloody rain - even the ducks are pissed off!

BTW it's West not East Lancs :-)

31 August 2012 at 21:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dreadnaught. It didn’t rain in Gloucester today, but our lesser black backed gulls (the lads with the yellow legs, as opposed to the greater, pink) have fled back to Africa this week. Now, they usually hang on for the first couple of weeks in September. Poor sods, in the downpours, they just stood there and took it. As soon as this years young could fly, they were off, and no mistake...

31 August 2012 at 21:45  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Albert @ 16.48 et al, you are certainly making an interesting case and most persuasive.

When this communicant had previously assumed that celibacy was a contributory factor in child-abuse by Catholic priests, you also quoted Andrew Brown's op-ed on the findings of the John Jay Institute, which was duly read. Brown's commentary suggests that those holding this view on the influence of celibacy are liberal Christians. Liberal, Moi?

It does therefore surprise to discover that US Catholic priest score low in a survey of abusers in comparison with the entire US population.

It may be incorrect to conflate child abuse with other forms of domestic abuse, but it is invariably the case that alcohol is a major contributory factor to incidences of abuse. So when the JJI finds that child abuse is well outside the US norm in Alaska, it should come as no surprise at all. In New World terms, Alaska is a frontier society with a population that is almost certainly well below the rest of the USA in educational achievement. In addition Alaska has a high indigenous population. Indigenous communities frequently suffer from alcoholism to a degree no longer seen in European societies with the possibly exception of Russia and parts of Scotland (Glasgow). The catalyst for indigenous alcoholism is frequently the catastrophicly low morale of a defeated people. It therefore comes as no surprise to find that Alaska is an abuse hotspot.

That Sweden is also an offender to greater degree than the US is a mild surprise, but the the north of Sweden shares certain charcteristics with Alaska, being a somewhat frontier society with a very harsh climate. It may be that long cold winters and a corresponding incidence of cabin fever are triggers for bouts of alcoholism that lead to abuse.

So where does this lead us? It seems that Andrew Brown is not comparing apples with apples and if there is to be a comparison of the occurence of child abuse in the context of US figures, that comparison needs to be made with similar developed societies rather than with internal and external outliers such as Alaska and Sweden.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the disgraceful situation in the CofE Diocese of Chichester, but it seems important to make these points.

31 August 2012 at 22:15  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Too true OIG - normally we have large contingents of swallows and swifts swooping and skimming the water and taking insects on the wing - beautiful stuff; but a lousy Spring meant fewer insects and the early arrivals soon took off many failed to brood. The cold winter brought iced waterways and we lost the familiar kingfishers because of loss of feeding opportunities. Set backs dear Boy, only set backs, nature will prevail; its only my selfish expectations that have been temporarily dimmed - they'll be back.

31 August 2012 at 22:20  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

but then that's the last thing religions want the human mind to do - that is to reason.

Well, my posts have been based on reasoning and evidence, your posts have simply conveyed the feeling that you don't like religion. How does that feeling help us to ensure children are safe wherever they are with adults? Can you see my problem? I just don't see how your last post has contributed to that goal.

If anything can help us to reach that goal, it is evidence and a grasp of human nature, not your religious feelings.

I am astonished at the failings in the Diocese of Chichester - not because they happened, but because they were happening until so recently, until that is, Dr Williams, thanks be to God, stepped in. The only explanation for this failure that I can think of is that those responsible really thought that child abuse wasn't a problem that really affected the CofE.

If I am right, the lesson is clear: to protect children, we must forget partisanship and focus on the evidence, not on feelings about religion.

31 August 2012 at 22:29  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

Very well said! All your comments were spot on and especially those stressing the need to put denominational point scoring to one side and to focus on protecting children.

I do have to say more with regard to Father Benedict Groeschel.

Somewhat inappropriately stated he raised a very relevant issue. Do sex abusers deliberately enter the Church in order to have access to children? Or, are some just ill-equipped to deal with the temptations that will inevitably come their way given the position they hold?

MrCranmer
Was it really necessary to have a dig at Father Benedict Groeschel? I mean, what purpose did it serve?

In my opinion, he is a true Priest, a fine man and an insightful and gifted psychologist. He has greatly influenced me personally in my work.

He expressed himself clumsily and made a mistake and look how quickly and gleefully the atheist vultures circled in America. Yesterday he apologised for his comments:

"I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible.

"My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone."


Father Groeschel was in a car accident a number of years ago which put him in a coma; he is nearly 80; and, according to his friends, "in recent months his health, memory and cognitive ability have been failing." They described his comments as "out of character."

Why drag a good Catholic man and a dedicated servant of God into this Anglican scandal?

31 August 2012 at 22:38  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"But the point is that child abuse occurs even outside of that context, and is covered up. "

I have no doubt about that whatsover - but that is not an argument against dealing with that which does arise in religous groups, at work or elsewhere as well. I don't really care where the Catholic Church stands in that particular league table. The right response is to accept responsibility and to deal with the problem - and that appears to be what the Catholics are doing somewhat belatedly.

As you note most abuse is by biological fathers - I might add these are somewhat more difficult for most children to avoid than other abusers.

Naomi King might I suggest you read Oranges are the only Fruit and/or Jeanette Winterson's autobiography and then you might just appreciate that heterosexual evangelicals are also not above using their power and influence to abuse homosexual children. All sexualities are capable of abuse I'm afraid.

31 August 2012 at 22:40  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert, religion demands faith not reason; they also command deference and trust. 'Suffer little children to come unto me' - yet as HG's post graphically displays, when that particular covenant is broken and worse still denied and hushed up, this mires all who prefer to assume the position of the proverbial ostriches.

31 August 2012 at 22:40  
Blogger Albert said...

Good for you Bluedog! I find your reasoning has merit - I hadn't thought of the connection with alcoholism and general environment. But it prima facie correlates more effectively with the evidence than the all too convenient "it's the fault of Catholicism."

I should come clean on this: like you, I had always assumed, in a rather lazy way, that Catholic clergy were more like to be abusers because of celibacy. However, my own change of mind on this came, when, as you will recall, there was a sudden spate of accusations and reports against Catholic clergy a couple of years ago. So I did some reading, and while what has happened really sickened me (I still cannot understand how a Catholic bishop can constantly move an obviously abusing priest from parish to parish), nevertheless, I found the evidence required a change of mind in certain respects.

If only one child was spared abuse because society as a whole understood this problem better, it would be worth it. The problem is, the anti-Catholic card seems to be such a good one, many people seem unwilling to part with it. But you, thanks be to God, and to your very great credit, are not among them.

31 August 2012 at 22:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Tory boy,

I have no doubt about that whatsover - but that is not an argument against dealing with that which does arise in religous groups, at work or elsewhere as well

I agree with you entirely. But I cannot see where anyone has said religious groups should not be properly dealt with, when they fail in this matter. So perhaps you and I are close to agreement?

I think seeking explanations of child abuse can be important in preventing it in the future, but we must never allow that to inadvertently justify or somehow explain child abuse, the responsibility for which must always rest with the adult. That's another problem with the "it's all the fault of Cathoicism/celibacy/belief systems" etc. response. No, it is fundamentally the fault of the adult and nothing is gained by obscuring that fact.

31 August 2012 at 22:50  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

religion demands faith not reason

If you really think there is inevitably an opposition between faith and reason, then I can only say you are rather ignorant about both. In fairness to you, there are many authorities on your side of the argument that propagate that position.

May I suggest you be less trusting of them until you have examined the matters for yourself?

31 August 2012 at 22:53  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Dodo.

As they stand, Fr Benedict comments are clearly quite wrong. But it's pretty clear that Fr Benedict did not mean exactly what he said or has been taken to say. But repeating it suits...

31 August 2012 at 23:01  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert
If you really think there is inevitably an opposition between faith and reason, then I can only say you are rather ignorant about both.

I am ignorant of many things but happy to draw my own conclusions of what I see in this world. I feel no compulsion to subscribe to something such as religion that is designed by men to aggrandise their own elitist positions and egos during their three score and ten or whatever.
And yes, they may truly believe in god/s and the afterlife they call it faith - I call it paranoia.

31 August 2012 at 23:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

I am ignorant of many things but happy to draw my own conclusions of what I see in this world

Presumably, you believe very little then? Surely, every scientist rests on the authority of other scientists for his own conclusions?

I feel no compulsion to subscribe to something such as religion that is designed by men to aggrandise their own elitist positions and egos during their three score and ten or whatever.

I couldn't agree with you more, except that naturalism seems to serve that purpose more effectively than many religions - don't you think?

And yes, they may truly believe in god/s and the afterlife they call it faith - I call it paranoia.

Well that's rather unreasonable of you, since paranoia is a quite different condition.

31 August 2012 at 23:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Those of you who know the Inspector will appreciate he is a hard liner. He is a student of Draco, no less. Now, you were either with that man or against him. The Inspector looks on in disgust as the comfort of murderers come before attention to the truly needy in this increasingly secularist society.

Men sexually abuse children not just because they can, but also because our weak society goes easy on degenerates like them when caught. Put the fear of society’s vengeance into them. Let us start with ten years gaol, and announce to all the starting price for their disgraceful conduct...

31 August 2012 at 23:21  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert said
Presumably, you believe very little then?

One cannot know or believe in any thing with absolute certainty but can feel confident about certain things.

Well that's rather unreasonable of you, since paranoia is a quite different condition.

Paranoia [ˌpærəˈnɔɪ.ə] (adjective: paranoid [ˈpærə.nɔɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion.

Being conditioned in to believing that a loving God who demands your obedience and worship, would first send a flood to drown millions of men women and children, plants and animals, thousands of years before allegedly making a personal appearance: and only then from the womb of a virgin: accepting that a newborn can be guilty of sin or that dying without seeking absolution from an imaginary figure in the presence of another human being having been 'ordained' a holy man by another holy man sure seems likes clear examples of forms of paranoid to me.

1 September 2012 at 00:19  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"vengeance"

Good term inspector and lawful at that!

1 September 2012 at 00:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Aye bone, UK criminals today tend to view prison as some kind of training and or health camp. Those Howard league swine have seen to that...

1 September 2012 at 00:31  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Dreadnaugh

As I recall, a few weeks ago you weighed anchor and set sail with a promise never to return. Has sudden sea sickness brought you shore-side again?

1 September 2012 at 00:57  
Blogger John Magee said...

Shacklefree

Well said.

I don't think a person can drive for more than 15 minutes in most English cities or more than a half an hour in the countryside and not see a reminder of England's Roman Catholic 1,000 year legacy pre Henry VIII. The square towers and spires of English Medieval Cathedrals dominate many city skylines and there is at least one surviving Medieval parish church in most English villages. Here and there the ruins of a Meieval monastery can been seen too.

We can see England's Medieval Catholic architectural influence in the great Agglican Cathedral at Liverpool built in the last century. Also catholic Norman French influence in the beautiful Gothic style Anglican Cathedral at Truro. It was started in the 1880's and finished in the early part of the last century

Let's not forget the enormous contributions the Roman Catholic Church has given Western Christian Civilization in ethics, philosophy, charity, literature, art, architecture, music, and the founding of the college system during the Middle Ages, and much much more.

I have a deep respect for the C of E but the Church of England has never had to endure the horrendous persecutions the RC suffered in the past. Most "recently" during the French Revoltion or under Communism in the USSR after 1917 in the Ukraine where Eastern Catholics endured total religious persecution and mass starvation along with their brother and sister Eastern Orthodox Christians.
After WW II Catholic countries in Eastern Europe which were dominated by the USSR (Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Croatia in Yugoslavia)the RC Church endured unbelievable persecution. Pope John Paul II was a product of this persecuted Church under Communism

Then there is Ireland...

1 September 2012 at 01:47  
Blogger John Magee said...

I've always had one question in the case of the accusers of RC priests in sexual abuse cases and it applies to these charges made against C of E clergy in this article too: let's have the accusers take lie detector tests. The results can't be used in court but a lie detector test results do indicate deception. Inquiring minds want to know.

Is the C of E going to shell out "compensation" in the form of large amounts of money to these accusers (extortionists)? If so the C of E had better fasten it's seat belt because more "accusers " will be crawling out of the woodwork with more accusations if they know they can make an instant fortune by being liars.

Any cleric today (or any male who deals with the public) is crazy if he is ever alone in a room with a child or a woman without a witness or an open door so that a secretary or others who work with him can see nothing improper is going on.

1 September 2012 at 02:04  
Blogger John Magee said...

Inspector

I'm a big fan of listening to cathedral and church bell ringing on Youtube. Tonight I searched Gloucester Cathedral Bell Ringing on Youtube. Over 40 results.

Wonderful!

You are lucky to hear them everyday in person.

1 September 2012 at 02:09  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Albert

While abuse may be fundamentally the fault of the perpetrators and I have no problem whatsover with them being held accountable for their actions, it is still the case that we allow structures to develop, religous or otherwise, that make it easier for the abusers to operate. We cannot let the primary responsibility of the abusers to be used as an excuse for not dealing with those structures and those responsible for them or vice versa (and I hear rather more of the vice versa from you when it comes to the Roman Catholic church - I'm afraid). It isn't an either or choice.

1 September 2012 at 08:25  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"let's have the accusers take lie detector tests."

Well I suppose its progress from thw witch dunkings that used to happen when someone accused the priest. Perhaps we could just stick to the normal legal processes.

1 September 2012 at 08:32  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Speaking as the child protection officer at my church, I can say that, for my diocese at least, the system is working as best it can. The problems come both from within and without.

Internally the system is reliant upon the PCC to appoint a child protection officer and then to make sure that they do the job asked of them. Whilst the diocese have a child protection officer, they are only there to have CRB forms sent to, to let the church know the results of the CRB checks and to provide safeguarding training as requested by individual churches.
This means that if a church is either not doing it's job properly or somewhere within the church there is deliberate fudging of the process then things can slip, sometimes to the detriment of young people, children and vulnerable adults. I speak as someone who has experienced this sort of fudging (before I became child protection officer) but where, fortunately, it did not lead to anything going wrong.

Externally, we have the very much flawed CRB system. CRB forms are worthless for 2 reasons. They only check to see if someone has been caught breaking the law (it covers more than just child abuse), not those who have and haven't been caught. Also, they are only accurate to the point at which the person filling in the form completes it. As soon as it is completed the person could go and do something and the form would still be correct. And because forms have a 3 year validity, unless the police bring up any concerns to the child protection officer anything that might cause concern for a persons involvement with children, young people or vulnerable adults will not come up until the next check.

And, just in case anyone brings it up, the ISA would have been just as useless, if not more so. All it did was say whether a person had never been caught. They would still need to go through the CRB process, thus making the ISA useful for maybe 6 weeks in that a person could volunteer for the 6 weeks it generally takes for CRB forms to turn around and the organisation would be legally covered.

End of the day, CRBs are far more about organisations being legally protected from prosecution than about finding those who would harm children, young people or vulnerable adults. By using the CRB system properly an organisation shows it has done all it can, so far as the law goes, and so theoretically gets them off the hook if anything goes wrong from a safeguarding perspective.

1 September 2012 at 08:55  
Blogger Callum Lane said...

Dreadnought, faith is a pre-requisite for knowledge. One has to belief something as a stepping stone to knowing something. It is basic epistemology. So the difference between atheists and those of Faith is not that one believes and one does not, but that both believe different things. Both belief systems are valid, both belief systems rely on a priori statements to whit 'there is a God' (those of Faith) and 'there is no God' (atheists).
In short, you as a rational atheist are as much a man of Belief and Fairh as any Christian or Muslim and with your own screed of mumbo jumbo.

1 September 2012 at 09:15  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

One cannot know or believe in any thing with absolute certainty but can feel confident about certain things.

So you don't actually believe the conclusions you draw from the world around you? BTW what about this proposition:

One cannot know or believe in any thing with absolute certainty but can feel confident about certain things.

Do you believe that?

Paranoia [ˌpærəˈnɔɪ.ə] (adjective: paranoid [ˈpærə.nɔɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion.

Well that's rather a feeble definition of paranoia. Check a medical dictionary and you will see that it is to do with a feeling of persecution. I don't feel persecuted by God - of course you can find people who do, but they were mentally ill already. It is also the case that paranoia is a symptom of a range of other disorders such as schizophrenia. Do you seriously believe that all religious people are suffering such mental disorders?

Moreover, what are you grounds for thinking faith is a delusion? This word "delusion" has rather unhelpfully entered common usage in relation to religion. But delusion too is a proper medical term and it doesn't apply to faith. I think even Dawkins admits this in his book - he says (if memory serves) that he using "delusion" in a non-technical way. For a more serious discussion of the use (and abuse) of the term see Is Faith Delusion? by Prof Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

So neither the definition of paranoia, nor the definition of delusion are adequate. This means, all we are left with is the fact that you don't like religion but you are prepared to misuse technical terminology to serve your need.

accepting that a newborn can be guilty of sin

Well that's not a Catholic doctrine of original sin. Does it trouble you that hold so many damning opinions about other people that are not only unsupported by evidence, but actually contradicted by the evidence? It ought to.

1 September 2012 at 09:21  
Blogger Albert said...

Tory boy,

it is still the case that we allow structures to develop, religous or otherwise, that make it easier for the abusers to operate.

I have not disputed that. Such structures will always exist wherever people share a common interest. It doesn't require belief. You are missing the possibility that belief can actually work the other way. If you inhabit an "anything goes" approach, such as was the case with the secular left (see here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/4949555/Harriet-Harman-under-attack-over-bid-to-water-down-child-pornography-law.html) then you are not well armed to object to anything much.

We cannot let the primary responsibility of the abusers to be used as an excuse for not dealing with those structures and those responsible for them or vice versa (and I hear rather more of the vice versa from you when it comes to the Roman Catholic church - I'm afraid). It isn't an either or choice.

Well, again, I just think you need to do some more research or else withhold judgement. Practices have been unneven across the world - I expect that Catholics in being persecuted by atheistic or Muslim regimes struggle to get best practice on this, but note the report Cranmer refers to - it actually recommends the processes of the Catholic Church in Australia. I have already referred to the fact that vetting for clergy is stricter than for teachers. I add that in this country, child protection was created and is reviewed independently.

All your threads seem to me to have been about trying desperately to defend your view that there is something particularly wrong with religions on this point - but it does seem hard to make the point stick.

1 September 2012 at 09:33  
Blogger Kinderling said...

The blindness of the Churched-Christian is quite apparent in the interview:
Bishop of Chichester: “I think there’s been an, an instinct, which I think quite good ‘Christian instinct’ to think the best of people until you know the worst.”

To think the best of people until you know the worst is just to look at the uniform a person is wearing. The bigger the hat, the more important they want you to think they are. Clothed in finery or degrees in Heavenship. Moulding a gullible flock to not challenge the Authority of the Church. A self-blessed sheeple.

On the other hand, Jesus said: “…be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Which means you can listen and see the sexual predator as they are not still spirits, to see behind the smile.

On the other hand Bishop of Chichester said: think that one the things we’ve learnt is that anybody may be an abuser

Still blind.

1 September 2012 at 09:50  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

You are missing the possibility that belief can actually work the other way

No I haven't I specifically said "I am also quite happy to accept that there those who have power and who do not abuse it."

What I am saying is that many "sects" (of all types) do have this problem because they have those in positions of power who encourage unquestioning faith from their adherents which they then manipulate to their personal advantage. If the sects concerned don't recognise the problem then they will not deal with it properly. Those enlightened "sects" which allow and encourage the questioning of authority are much less likely to have problems.

1 September 2012 at 12:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John, before the Inspector devoted his life to this blog, he spent a Tuesday evening at Gloucester Chess club. About 150 yards from those bells. Tuesday night is bell ringing night. Absolutely deafening, yet the chess went on. When playing at competition level, home games are arranged for Tuesday nights !

The players were weird and wonderful sorts, so the Inspector fitted in nicely. One also suspects they were, to a man, code breakers from GCHQ down the road. Never went back. The decibel level on the night being somewhere between pneumatic drill at thirty feet and jet taking off...

1 September 2012 at 13:04  
Blogger Albert said...

Tory boy,

Well is that is all you are saying, then I would say it is trivially true. But I think your original claim was stronger: It is more to do with you said, which I think reasonably implies there will be a greater problem with what follows. In this case it was to do with people having authority over beliefs.

In the end, individuals committed to institutions risk abusing power. Those with a clear belief system may sometimes use that belief system to do so, those without a clear belief system sometimes lack the beliefs that would prevent them from abusing their power.

The comparison with the National Council for Civil Liberties cited earlier is perhaps instructive - as is the abuse of children in pre-Christian Europe. Churches have sometimes mishandled paedophilia because they believed it to be so shameful. Secularists and pagans have sometimes mishandled the same issue because, lacking any serious morality in sexual matters, they could see nothing in principle wrong with it!

1 September 2012 at 13:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

If I was cynical, I would think that atheists consider the child abuse scandal in the RCC to be the best Christmas present since the Slinky. Oh, I am sure they are righteously offended at the thought of little boys being sodomized by grown men. (They are of course somewhat less offended by by thought of vulnerable teen-aged boys being seduced and sodomized by homosexual priests. Or should we call that "introducing boys to their innate sexual orientation?") But deep down in places they don't like to look, they are glad the sex abuse crisis happened. Because it confirms every prejudice they possess.

I haven't quite figured out yet how failing to teach people to "think for themselves" has anything to do with parents letting their kids get sodomized. Evidently, if these parents had thought they could "question authority" they would have asked something like "Excuse me, Mr Priest. Are you thinking of sodomizing my son today?" And when the priest answered "Why, yes, I am" they would have known to say something besides "Well, that's all right then." If only they had seen the world through properly atheist eyes, they would have taken steps to prevent the abuse. But they were blinded by religion. You know, it's that "blind obedience to authority" stuff.

What we see on display here is just one more round of a tiresome game: "See, if you involve yourself in orthodox religion, you will end up letting your kids get sodomized by priests. So, you should become an atheist. Or at least you should become a liberal religionist." It's a huge non-sequitor, but it's loads of fun. It's like unwrapping a Christmas present every morning.

carl
who has never had much trouble thinking for himself

1 September 2012 at 15:30  
Blogger John Magee said...

Tory boys

Please reread my post. I said that I would like those who are accusing people of sexual abuse to take a polygrap (le detector) test. Lie detector test results can't be used as evidence in a court of law however the Government of the UK is planning to roll out mandatory polygraph tests for sex offenders across England and Wales.

This was carried out in the East and West Midlands between April 2009 and October 2011.

More than 600 sex offenders who were freed on licence were tested every six months in an attempt to find out if they had breached the terms of their release.

The pilot identified that offenders were two to three times more likely to admit to potential breaches of their licence, often before they had even undergone the test procedure.

Why can't those who ACCUSE people of having abused them be required to take a polygraph test too?

The worst case of child abuse I ever read about took place in the 1980's in California, USA. This case is well worth reading about because it shows how far the police, aided by psychistrists and therapaists, can ruin innocent people's lives because of their obession with trying to make a case of child abuse where none ever existed.

The McMartin Pre School Abuse Case

The McMartin preschool trial was a day care sexual abuse case of the 1980s. Members of the McMartin family, who operated a preschool in California, were charged with numerous acts of sexual abuse of children in their care. Accusations were made in 1983. Arrests and the pretrial investigation ran from 1984 to 1987, and the trial ran from 1987 to 1990. After six years of criminal trials, no convictions were obtained, and all charges were dropped in 1990. When the trial ended in 1990 it had been the longest and most expensive criminal trial in American history. The case was part of day care sex abuse hysteria, a moral panic over satanic ritual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s.

There is a reason the statue of Lady Justice in our court rooms and law courts carries a sword. It represents the double edge of justice. Every case has two stories.

1 September 2012 at 15:35  
Blogger John Magee said...

carl jacobs

Don't be naive. Sexual abuse exists in every religion and all other organizations, professions, and even families on the face of the earth.

If you live in the USA you must remember the sleazy TV Evangelist's Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker and all about their sex scandals.

Even the most high minded men (and women) are tempted by one two things in life: pleasure and self interest.

I thinks it's called original sin.

Before pointing a selfrigheous finger at the RC Church's sex abuse scandals people people better make damn sure their own churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and in the case of atheists. Their homes are in perfect moral order.

Near where I live a Methodist minister was arrested with tons of child porn on his computer at his church. Does that mean all Protestant ministers are child porn addicts or paedophiles. Of course not. It does mean all clerics are sexual beings and have the same vices the rest of the human race has.

1 September 2012 at 15:50  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

John Maggee

Please look behind you, because the object that just flew past your head at Warp Factor 7 was called "the point." My post had nothing to do with self-righteous accusations against the RCC. It had to do with the illicit apologetic use of the RCC sex abuse crisis by enemies of the RCC in particular and religion in general. An illicit use that is displayed in spades on this thread - just like every other thread on this subject.

carl

1 September 2012 at 16:00  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Cardinal Carlo Martini said Church '200 years behind'

1 September 2012 at 16:32  
Blogger John Magee said...

carl jacobs

My apologies for any obtuseness on my part in regards to your post.

I guess I get overly defensive when the subject of priest abuse comes up because, in my opinion, it seems many non Catholic's take a certain schadenfreud in seeing the Mother Church of all Christians, the Catholic Church, suffer from the hypocrisy of a small % of it's priests who broke their holy voes at ordination and by a few bishops who panicked and made the terrible mistake of trying to cover up for them. I will admit all parties concerned should be tried before a court of law and if found guilty be punished. That is the law and it makes no exceptions and doesn't regard Catholic priests and bishops or ANY other clerics who represent other faiths as any kind of special or "chosen people" immune from prosecution.

Like you, I agree that the enemies of Christainty take delight in our mistakes and hypocrisy. They howl with delight in the media when they find them. That was the example I was trying to make from the article on Cramer's Blog about atheist's and the enemies of religion we debated earlier here in he so called "Pussy Riot Case" and their blapshemous cavorting in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. Which was such a hot topic here earlier.

When one group of Christians are assaulted and hurt by the Christophobes ALL Christians suffer.

It's that simple to me.

As Christians we also have a duty to be critical of our own churches and denominations when it comes to wrongs in the past and hypocrisy today.

Nonetheless, I did get your point and it was crystal clear and correct. Please try to remember whenever Catholics (and in this case Anglicans) hear about another case of a priest abusing boys (or girls) we get defensive and assume, perhaps wrongly, that this is just another slap in he face by fellow Christians who we try and believe are on our side when it comes to the Gospels and as brother and sister Christians.

My apologies,once again, as I am still flying through life in a double-wing crop duster.
Not full throttle in a jet like you. Lucky you.

By the way. In your proflie it says you are former military. I served in the Navy as part of a F-8 fighter squadron back in the 1960's ( I was photographer's mate 3rd class) on the WW II carrier the USS SHANGRI-La CVA-38. So I have a little bit of knowledge the subject of jets and life in the military too.
I do not chose to wear my 4 years in the USA Navy on my sleeve because it was something I chose to do after high school. I enlisted, did my job, got out and then went on to college and lived the rest of my life. Today I look at that period of my life as a pleasant memory when I was part of the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea on two nine month two cruises, spent time in Iceland and other places, and met a lot of nice people and a few rats. I was never in Viet Nam. I was a total nonentity who did his job.

1 September 2012 at 18:09  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

John Magee said ...

"I've always had one question in the case of the accusers of RC priests in sexual abuse cases and it applies to these charges made against C of E clergy in this article too: let's have the accusers take lie detector tests ... to indicate deception .... Is the C of E going to shell out "compensation" in the form of large amounts of money to these accusers (extortionists)?"

Sir, they are victims/survivors of sexual abuse - not accusers or extortionists!

So what if some turn out to be dishonest liars? By having this 'question' in your mind and voicing it so prejudicially and ungracefully you have embarrassed me as Catholic.

And this is scandalous:

" ... more "accusers " will be crawling out of the woodwork with more accusations if they know they can make an instant fortune by being liars."

It is better to pay the liars, if there be any, and treat the true victims properly and compassionately, than to label them all in the way have done. They need to be encouraged to come forward, not made to feel they are liars or they are betraying the Church.

Catholic Priests sexually abused children. Get it? The Church was aware at senior levels, failed to respond appropriately and acted negligently, thus placing more children in harms way. Understand?

1 September 2012 at 23:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

A chess man, by jove! Go back on a Tuesday - wear ear muffs. Chess is too fine a game to be disrupted by blessed bells.

All my adult children play - very competitively too! Far better than television.

1 September 2012 at 23:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, yes the Inspector is a chess man. The finest game ever devised by man. Having witnessed by immediate proximity the full intensity of a set of cathedral castings ringing out, one can only sympathise with Quasimodo as he was driven insane by the same at Notre Dame, and for this man here he was a somewhat lenient 150 yards away !

One aspect of the child abuse should be noted. It is the nature of the offence that it comes to light many years after the deed. We must not rule out unscrupulous types who wish to cash in on the victims tragedy by means of false witness. Of course, we can consider this, at the moment, to be a rarity. But as time goes on, there well may be corrupt attempts at securing compensation by fabricating evidence against an innocent priest. We owe ourselves as worldly wise men to appreciate this rather pitiful manifestation of human greed...

2 September 2012 at 00:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 September 2012 at 00:09  
Blogger John Magee said...

Dodo

Excuse me.

I want proof. I want exact times, dates, names, possible witnesses, locations and a ton of other questions a good defense lawyer could find to get to the bottom of these accusers stories and their true motives to prosecute and charge a priest or anyone else with underage sexual abuse or sexual harassment in the work place.

Especially suspicious are the accusers "that crawl out of the woodwork" forty years later and accuse an 85 year old priest dying in a hospice of his supposedly abusing a boy in 1967. By a man who is now a 58 years old. Because of lack of a solid evidence in defense of the priest, which is impossible 40 years later, the "victim" and his shyster lawyers win the case on flimsy evidence and collect millions from a diocese.

When large sums of money are involved in a lawsuit I absolutley question the motives of the accusers. I promise you that if all that these "accusers" got was justice for any abuse they claim to have endudred from priests and not millions of pounds or dollars as a legal settlement only the real victims would pursue charges.

It's my gut reaction to doubt the majority of the accusers until their cases have been thoroughly investigated... and a polygraph test administered... and let the jury decide. This applies to all sexual abuse and sexual harassment cases.

As I said above. Lady Justice carries a sword which has two sides which symbolizes that justice looks at both sides of every case.In other words there are two sides to every story.

I wonder what would happen if it came out that some of these under age young men seduced the priests? IMAGINE THE HELL THAT WOULD BREAK LOOSE THEN ! Please don't be so naive to think that this sort of thing can't or hasn't happened.

Don't post a screaming misquote about what I just said please.

Last but not least. Don't believe everything you read or hear on the news until it's been verified and you hear both sides.

If you read the example of the sexual abuse case in California, USA (The McMartin Pre School Trial)which after SIX YEARS was found to be a total lie and was thrown out of court you would be suspicious of any sexual abuse or sexual harassment case.

Peoples lives were ruined in this obscene 6 year legal farce by a woman's jealousy of her former husband.

The law exists for the accusers AND the accused.

2 September 2012 at 01:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

We must always remember that the RCC's scandal has become the meta-narrative for a much bigger story. It represents the "ultimate truth" of organized religion to the accuser. This observer may only be able to "see" Chichester in the CoE but he "knows" from the experience of the RCC what he would see if he could see the whole picture. And it all makes perfect sense to him because the parallel is so exact. For he sees sexual abuse as a good metaphor for teaching children about God. This is why these threads always - always - quickly devolve into "Conservative religion causes child sexual abuse." It's also why the RCC's scandal is the scandal of every believer.

carl

2 September 2012 at 02:03  
Blogger John Magee said...

carl jacobs

As a Roman Catholic I see the sex abuse scandal in the RC Church as men breaking their holy vows they took at their ordination the day they became priests and swore an oath before God to remain celibate for the rest of their lives. That was their choice.

Remember the quote from the famous 17th century English poet John Donne? "... And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tools; it tolls for thee." This bell is ready to toll for all Christians Churches if they can't keep their church homes in order.

These scandals also show me the lowering of standards by the RC Church in order to be admitted to the priesthood since Vatican II were a catastrophe. Of course candidates to the priesthood are given psycological tests and must have high college entrance exam scores before they enter the seminary as I am sure is required for in Protestant seminaries and Bible Colleges for their men and now women who want to become ministers. I have a gut reaction that the IQ level of the average priest pre Vatican II was much higher than after the Council finished and caused enormous damage to the Church after it closed in 1964. The big problem I see problem is that the RC Church grew lax after Vatican II. Some seminaries became nothing more than "frat" or party houses with almost no discipline. Something TOTALLY unheard of before the mid 60's when discipline and life at RC seminaries and monasteries extremely ascetic. Almost like boot camp in the military minus a sceaming drill sergeant. After the late 1960's I add all the social problems, pop culture decadence, liberal denial of the concept of sin and allowing almost any type of behavior as "relative", the result for the RC Church are these scandals. I suspect Protestant clerics have their share of aduterers in their churches too. Decent ministers constanly hve to counsel lonely, abused, or divorced women who can seduce a minister in a moment of weakness, having his own marriage difficulties or who has no control of his impulses and is. to be blunt, randy.

To add fuel to the fire a few RC Bishops panicked, because of the dwindling number of priests, and shuffled these paedophile priests to remote parishes where they continued their predatory ways which they will never be able to give up. They should have been turned over to the police, and if evidence shows they did what they are accused of and not being framed for money, prosecuted and if found guilty by a jury who looks at the evidence fairly. If found guilty put in jail. This includes any Bishop who protected them.

Are you aware of the massive sex abuse scandal at Penn State University about the assistant coach who abused boys and in the end brought down the great footlball coach Joe Paterno and disgraced the University? I believe Paterno is completely innocent but he was aware of accustaions made against his assistant Sandusky, and like others in the University Staff. Including the University President, stuck their heads in the sand, and did nothing.

2 September 2012 at 18:43  
Blogger len said...

Celibacy simply doesn`t work,in fact it seems to promote other forms of evil instead.You cannot change a man`s nature by simply denying basic natural needs and desires, so in celibacy these repressed natural desires break out in unnatural desires.
The practice of Celibacy far from making people more 'Godly' has turned them into social pariahs and discredited the Church.
Many now see the Church as a place of hypocrisy and evil rather than the 'House of God'where all could enter with confidence.

2 September 2012 at 20:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. We have established that it is not celibacy, but homosexuality latent or otherwise, that has caused this child abuse misery. Although we live in an ‘enlightened’ age, as if in the past we lived in something else, one is beginning to view homosexuality as the handicap it is, and it’s sufferers kept well away from temptation, as those in the RCC now are.

2 September 2012 at 22:09  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

If celibacy itself were the problem, every man not having sex three times a night would be a danger to children. Hands up all those having sex three times a night (with another person, that is).

2 September 2012 at 22:55  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len said ....

"You cannot change a man`s nature by simply denying basic natural needs and desires, so in celibacy these repressed natural desires break out in unnatural desires."

Unbelievable! There is no evidence at all that self-denial results in perverted sexual behaviour.

Catholics believe the call to the priesthood is accompanied by the calling to celibacy. Did Jesus misunderstand human nature when He said:

"For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

When men commit serious sin it illustrates that overcoming temptation requires self will as well as the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

3 September 2012 at 00:21  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

John Magee

Ever heard of the concept of "balance of probabilities" where the standard of proof is lower than the criminal standard?

I've spent the past 33 years working with both the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. Just imagine being a Catholic child who is abused by a priest. And, no matter the degree of temptation, no professional or priest can use "they seduced me" as a defence.

Thank God people have come forward. Thank God light has been shed on this darkness. Thank God we have learned and this evil can now be rooted out and children and vulnerable adults will be better protected.

3 September 2012 at 00:41  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Jesus recognised that it takes a very special type of person to embrace celibacy.It is a rarity. It is highly unnatural to live a life without any form of physical intimacy and the state is conducive to mental ill health.Some form of physical affection is crucial to a healthy balanced life.Men need women to keep them on track. God's police so to speak.I am in favour of married clergy. The Church could recruit mature aged men whose children have grown and left the nest.It would be beneficial for a congregation to have a priest who has had real life experiences rather than someone who has joined a seminary when very young.
I think Dodo and the Inspector (in spite of some glaring faults which would need some serious attending to) would make good priests.

3 September 2012 at 01:56  
Blogger John Magee said...

Dodo

Did I say the possibility of a under age boy or girl seducing an adult was a defense? NO. I said it happens. You must know this happens.

Unfortunately every nasty possibility imaginable exists out there in life and some pervert is reading willing and able to act on it. It's called reality or better yet Original Sin.

It's not an excuse, or a defense, or a lie. It happens, has happened, and will happen. All I did was point it out as a possibility.

That's why we have laws agaisnt this sort of thing.

The adult has a choice to give in to temptation or not.

We are talking about sexual temtation here between an adolescent (not a child) and an adult and not about Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

3 September 2012 at 04:37  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

John Magee

So sex with an adolescent is okay, is it?

And not all the young people involved were teenagers and not all were willing. For many the power of the priesthood was used.

It's more than mere "temptation" too. Giving in to it is an abuse of postion as the representative of Christ.

Anyone who has worked with children and teenagers know they 'flirt' with trusted and older authority figures. It's part of growing up and testing relationships with safe people.

Go back and read your posts and dostop being so defensive. Your tone and language on this issue has, as a Catholic, embarrassed me.

3 September 2012 at 20:32  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...

Hi Cressida,

There are a lot of people out there who live a celibate life and not through choice like a priest - a third of us live alone. Speaking as a single person, it's important for me that priests are celibate, because they understand the struggles that go with that. I suppose it comes down to who you want to identify with in your community. As clergy, is it best to identify with the rich in your community; those who have family and a partner, or the poor; those who don't have family or a spouse? If you are rich in this sense, is there anything you can say that's useful to the poor of your community and if you can't do that, is there any point to your vocation? Isn't it just another middle class profession if being a priest doesn't involve some form of poverty? And as an aside, does marriage make people mature, or more particularly, men?

3 September 2012 at 23:57  
Blogger John Magee said...

Dodo said:

"So sex with an adolescent is okay, is it?"

No it is not!

You are master of twisting words people post here into something they never said or even implied.

I never suggested what you posted nor did I imply such things. Make certain your quotes and assumptions are accurate about me please.

As I have said over and over there are two sides to every story:
There is one side's version, the other side's version, and then there is the truth.

Reread what I posted carefully please.

How you could cook up a fantasy that I in any way shape or form support sex with adolescents from my post is beyond belief.

4 September 2012 at 05:39  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

A celibate life is not necessarily living alone.

Most people have had bouts of celibacy in their lives.Middle class people need appropriate pastoral care as well as the poor.

Che,your reasons for supporting celibacy in priesthood is selfish
and unthinking.

I am suggesting that there be a representation of married priests.
There are already some with Protestant vicars who have crossed the Tiber but not enough.

My vocation? I have never had a religious vocation It was customary at my school to discuss religious vocation with the senior form who were leaving. I never forget the look of relief on Mother Superior's face when I made it known that I did not have one.
From then on the nuns beamed smiles at me. As a joke I think one of the girls had started a rumour that I wanted to become a nun.I was a bit of a St Trinians terror!


In my experience the third world poor are rich in their relationship with family and ardour with which they respect and practise their respective religions.We would do well to follow their example.The third world is now my chosen community.They are all poor.If you are referring to the western poor (sorry) I do not recognise this as poverty with their social services, health care and public transport and where youth burn building and conduct riots because they cannot afford designer label reeboks.

I live in a country where neighbours sift through
my rubbish for a lettuce leaf.

When I mentioned mature men I meant in terms of age and certainly not in terms of character development.

.Marriage means you cannot be selfish. You have to consider another person's needs. It is a great institution for a man particularly if you take a Catholic wife who usually puts the needs of her family before her own.

Stop navel gazing Che and get some life experience. I never realised the importance of Christianity and was not conscious of even being one until I went to live with other religious cultures . A pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled. A lot of people live alone out of choice.You sound like one of them. We have grown very selfish as a society and it is making us very unwell.




4 September 2012 at 06:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Che Yeoh said...
"Speaking as a single person, it's important for me that priests are celibate, because they understand the struggles that go with that."

Er, no, that's not a reason for celibacy! Jesus meant something a little deeper than mere self denial. Heck, even married sexually active men have to practice self denial.

"As clergy, is it best to identify with the rich in your community; those who have family and a partner, or the poor; those who don't have family or a spouse?"

I should think a true priest would identify with the spiritually poor, in marriage or not.

"If you are rich in this sense, is there anything you can say that's useful to the poor of your community and if you can't do that, is there any point to your vocation?"

Again, this is not a reason for voluntary celibacy. Trust me too that not all marriages or sexual relationships within marriage could be described as "rich"> There are some very unhappy people leading married lives.

"Isn't it just another middle class profession if being a priest doesn't involve some form of poverty? And as an aside, does marriage make people mature, or more particularly, men?"

Being a priest, of course, represents a giving of oneself to Godand to others. There is the vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. This is a mind-bending oath. Just think about it.

I support celibacy but not for the reasons you give. On the other hand hand, I also see the sense in what Cressida de Nova is saying. One does understand God's Fatherly love for us in a different way as a natural father or mother. However, good celibate priests do develop the same feelings of unselfish love for those they serve - and can be more objective too. Some parents have a tendency to be over protective of their offsprings and want to shield them from necessary pain.

On a side note of my own, if I may, the decline of regular personal Confession is one of the great losses of recent Church practice. (Even greater, I think, is a loss of reverence for the Real Presence with the receipt of Communion in the hand.) Confession allows the priest to develop a relationship with a person and get toknow their personal struggles and battles.

So you see, a priest does not have to be celibate to understand or minister to people and maybe in the future the Church will change its position on this.

4 September 2012 at 22:54  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...

Maybe I expressed myself clumsily in the first comment I made on this and I can I make it clear Cressida, that it’s just as important to minister to the married and to the middle class as to those of us who are single. I am middle class and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m single and I’m not ashamed of that either and as you correctly surmised, I have chosen it, at least for the time being. I stand where I am now because I chose to look after my parents rather than put them in a nursing home and after my father died, I needed some time on my own. When I’ve caught my breath I probably will rejoin the fray.
There’s a couple of things I’m trying to challenge here. Firstly, the idea that celibacy means that you are out of touch with people or ‘real life’. A priest might be out of touch with what marriage entails; he will not be out of touch with people who made the choice that I made . He will not be out of touch with people who have separated but do not remarry, because they took an oath before God. These are common choices for many people and priestly celibacy is an official honouring of that choice in a world where it is generally disregarded even although it is common. Marriage is not the only state, the only life. There are different lives, different experiences out there.
Secondly – and this is up for debate – who should a priest actually identify with? This is a different question to who he should minister to, because he has to minister to everyone. But he cannot be all things to everyone. To answer this I would ask; what did Jesus choose? He chose to be single. Why? For the same reason for all the other choices He made. He chose to identify with the most disregarded in His society. That is why He chose to be poor, to wander, to be single and to die like a criminal. That is why He did not choose to be rich, to stay put, to be married and to die in bed. It’s a much argued about precept in Christianity; that it encourages an unhealthy pre-occupation with self flagellation and glorifies suffering as an end in itself. And you could argue quite successfully that Jesus missed out on life. But it’s what came out of that choice. He enriched us all by what He relinquished, immeasurably. And in priestly celibacy I see the opportunity to do the same. That’s my take anyway.

5 September 2012 at 01:37  
Blogger John Magee said...

There is a serious flaw in the celebacy argument in favor of a total ban on married priests in the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Church.

Protestant and Eastern Orthodox ministers and priests can marry, most do, and they do a superb job serving their flocks.

Anglican High Church priests can marry and they make wonderful clerics.

Why can't Roman Catholics once again have a married priesthood to save the Church at a time when vocations to the priesthood are almost nil?

For the first nearly 1,000 years of the history of the Roman Catholic Church it allowed a married priesthood. Although, like the Eastern Churches, Rome did not allow married Bishops. That is why most Roman Catholic and Eastern Bishops before the 1100's (including almost all Eastern Orthodox Bishops today)and the ban on married priests in the Latin Church. Bishops almost always come from monasteries.

St. Augustine the first Archbishop of Canterbury, sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great, came from a Benedictine Monastery in Rome in the late 500's AD.

In my old hometown I knew of a Roman Catholic Church served by 2 celibate priests while two blocks away there was a Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Church in union with Rome where the liturgy was celebrated exactly as the Eastern Orthodox. This Ukrainian Church looked 100% Orthodox and it had a married priest as the pastor. The married Eastern Rite Catholic priest had three children and he did his job as well as the two Roman Catholic celibate priest two blocks away. All three were clerics of the Catholic Church and recognized the Pope as the successor of St. Peter and Christ's Vicar on earth. Two Catholic priests had to be celibate and one didn't.

The Roman Catholic Church has, in certain exceptional cases, allowed Lutheran and Anglican ministers who convert to Rome to be reordained as RC priests.

I am for a married priesthood once again for the Roman Catholic Church. The first reason is because we had a married priesthood for the first 1,000 years of the history of the Church and secondly without a married priesthood the Church will slowly self destruct and wither on the vine if it keeps celibacy as a necessary condition to become a RC priest.

I have no doubt that if Rome allows a married priesthood once again that it's seminaries will be bursting within five years with wonderful men who want to be priests and also have a wife and children. Just as their brother priests in the Eastern Rites are allowed.

Bishops will have to remain celebite. That can't change.

5 September 2012 at 20:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John, the Inspector is half Irish, and knows from ‘home’ that the number of callings to the priesthood now are but a tiny number of what they were in the 1960s. Access to life outside Ireland, and more lately satellite television has seen to that. The shortage of clergy really does come down to a question of adapt and survive. Interesting point about about celibate bishops. It used to be the case locally that the Head of Midwifery was always a spinster. One can see how an individual not burdened by the responsibilities of marriage can devote themselves to higher office much easier than those not in that position.

5 September 2012 at 22:24  
Blogger John Magee said...

Inspector

You are blessed to be a "cradle Catholic". If you are as old as I am, I was born in 1948, you must remember the Latin Mass. I remember going to Midnight Mass at Christmas or Mass on Easter Sunday with my Catholic mother in the 1950's before Vatican II allowed the Mass to be said in the vernacular in 1964. High Mass in Latin was beautiful!. Latin is a beatiful language too. No one then ever dreamed it could be changed. The very idea was as impossible as a man walking on the moon someday!

The same goes for a married priesthood in the RC Church. We had one once, in fact we had a married priesthood for the first 1,000 years of the history of the Church. We can have a married priesthood again in an instant if the Pope decides in favor if it. Pope benedict XVI or one his successors must allow a married priesthood again. As you said it's a question of adapting and survival. A married priesthood isn't the same as tampering with essentials that can never be changed like the sacraments or the truth in the Gospels. We had it once and we can have it again.

8 September 2012 at 04:00  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older