Marriage is love.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I don't need to say another word...

...about the vatican/pope and their witch-hunts and inquisitions.

Deb Price does it just fine. Entire article is below.

Banning gay priests won't solve Catholic abuse problem

Difficult as it is, looking squarely at what happened to the Catholic children of Philadelphia is the only place to start:

• At age 11, one girl began being raped by her priest. He impregnated her, took her for an abortion, then continued abusing her until she was 17. He had at least 16 victims.

• After waking up drunk in his priest's bed, one boy realized the priest was sexually assaulting him while three other priests fondled themselves.

• A 12-year-old boy was told that his mother had given the priest permission to repeatedly rape him.

In 418 unflinching pages, a Philadelphia grand jury reported Sept. 21 on the three-year investigation that enabled it to identify 63 sexual predators in the Catholic priesthood who abused hundreds of children, robbing them of "their innocence, their virginity, their security and their faith."

But those 63 horribly sick men weren't the only ones to blame. The church's hierarchy, including two cardinals, made sure the cops were never called, the investigation concluded. "Sexually abusive priests," the grand jury says, "were either left quietly in place or 'recycled' to unsuspecting new parishes -- vastly expanding the number of children who were abused."

If top leaders of the Catholic Church were finally dealing forthrightly with an international scandal that has cost it not just its reputation but an estimated $1 billion in the United States alone, then non-Catholics and those who don't live in Philadelphia could be forgiven for ignoring the latest revelations. But we have to focus on what happens to Catholic children when their church lets them down because it is still failing them.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese blasted the meticulous report, produced by a heavily Catholic grand jury, as the work of a "discriminatory" Catholic-bashing inquisition. Such circle-the-wagons rhetoric suggests that posturing -- not healing the child-abuse problem -- remains a primary concern.

Similarly disheartening is the Sept. 21 news leak out of the Vatican. To supposedly "purify" a church rocked by sex crimes, the pope reportedly intends to stop allowing gay men to study for the priesthood.

What the Vatican ought to know by now -- because reputable researchers shout it from the mountaintops -- is that child molesters are sexually fixated on children and molest them. Well-adjusted adults, whether straight, gay or bisexual, don't molest children.

Weeding out gay priests would unfairly smear all gay people and deprive many worthy men of fulfilling their calling. But it wouldn't protect Catholic girls or boys. Sexual predators prey on handy victims. Who's handier than an altar boy or girl if child molesters worm their way into the priesthood?

"Banning gay priests is a misguided effort at blame shifting. ... This was and remains a crisis caused by duplicitous and insensitive church officials," says David Clohessy, who was abused by a Catholic priest and is the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The Catholic Church, like every religious group, has a legal right to set its own clergy admissions requirements. But no church, school or club should be allowed to coddle and hide child-abusing fiends.

Punishment for predators and their enablers must be swift, certain and severe. And all of us ought to be on the lookout for adults developing improperly close relationships to children -- and be willing to take action.

Standing up for Catholic children is not Catholic bashing. It's just a responsibility that comes with being an adult.