Mudcat Café message #3959922 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #164703   Message #3959922
Posted By: Joe Offer
03-Nov-18 - 04:06 PM
Thread Name: BS: Clerical abuse of kids: More Revelations
Subject: RE: BS: Clerical abuse of kids: More Revelations
I've been awake for a long time, ollaimh. When I was in the seminary in the 1960s, the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee put us through an extensive [and intrusive and embarrassing] battery of psychological testing and psychiatrist interviews, in an attempt to weed out seminarians who should not be ordained priests because they might be likely to commit sex crimes. Other dioceses were doing similar screening. They believed this would solve the problem.

In the 1970s, Catholic dioceses in the United States built expensive, state-of-the art treatment centers for priests who had problems with addictions and sexual misconduct. They believed this would certainly solve the problem, and they felt safe about reassigning priests to new parishes. That backfired.

At least since the 1980s, my current home diocese of Sacramento has had a standard, immediate response to allegations of sexual misconduct by priests: Not every diocese followed this common-sense practice, but many did. It didn't completely solve the problem, but it helped. Since 1986, U.S. insurance companies have refused to insure Catholic dioceses against sexual misconduct by priests, so the dioceses have paid claims out of their own funds. Earlier claims were paid by insurance.

There were some bishops who covered up offenses (some out of fear and some out of malice), but certainly not even ten percent. But if one diocese had a practice of covering up offenses, that could quickly add up to a large number of offending priests and an even larger number of victims. And since bishops get moved around, more dioceses could be affected than there were offending bishops. It didn't seem to matter whether the bishops were liberal or conservative - some of each covered up these crimes, and thus were guilty of crimes themselves.

And of course, many of the crimes were covered up by ecclesiastical functionaries without the bishop knowing. And many crimes were committed that were not covered up. And many other crimes were committed that the victims did not report.

The result was a relatively large number of crimes and victims and a relatively small number of people committing the crimes. There were crimes in every diocese in the United States, and most probably in every diocese in the world. But most bishops did not cover up the crimes, and most Catholics were only slightly aware the crimes were happening.

But yes, I was aware such crimes were happening as far back as the 1960s, and I'm sure almost all priests and bishops were also aware. But I was also aware that even back in the 1960s, Catholic dioceses were doing a lot to prevent and control and respond to crimes of the sexual abuse of children. Those measures failed to prevent all these crimes, and that is a shame and a scandal. Those who committed the sex crimes and the coverups must be investigated, prosecuted, and punished; and the victims must be compensated. We Catholics want this matter to be resolved, settled, and ended. It's our children who were the victims.

-Joe Offer-