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Perspective

There's a perception out there this holy week.  A perception that Catholic blood is in the water.

Elizabeth Lev provides some much needed shark repellent:

After the National Assembly diminished the authority of Louis XVI in 1789, anti-monarchical literature dwindled, but fierce accusations against Catholic clergy for misdeeds past and present increased. Isolated cases of clerical immorality were magnified to make depravity appear endemic to the entire priesthood (ironically, in an age where sexual libertinism was running rampant). The French propagandists labored night and day, dredging the past for old scandals whether decades or even centuries distant.

In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, published in 1790, Burke, a Protestant, asked the French, "From the general style of late publications of all sorts, one would be led to believe that your clergy in France were a sort of monsters, a horrible composition of superstition, ignorance, sloth, fraud, avarice and tyranny. But is this true?"

What would Edmund Burke make of the headlines of the past few weeks, as stories of a clerical sex abuser in Germany a quarter century ago, made front page headlines and top TV stories in US news? What would he think of the insistent attempts to tie this sex abuser to the Roman pontiff himself through the most tenuous of links?

In 1790, Burke answered his own question with these words: "It is not with much credulity I listen to any when they speak evil of those whom they are going to plunder. I rather suspect that vices are feigned or exaggerated when profit is looked for in their punishment." As he wrote these words, the French revolutionaries were readying for the mass confiscation of Church lands.

As the present sales of church property to pay settlements swell the coffers of contingent-fee lawyers and real estate speculators, one has to credit Burke for a profound and historical sense of human nature.

The salacious reporting on clerical sex abuse ( as if it were limited to only Roman Catholic clergy) has been given a prominence greater than the massacres of Christians happening right now in India and Iraq. Moreover, the term "clerical sex abuse" is often misleadingly equated with "pedophilia" to whip up even more public outrage. It doesn't take the political acumen of an Edmund Burke to wonder why the Catholic Church has been singled out for this treatment.

While no one denies the wrongdoing and the harm caused by a small minority of priests, their misconduct has been used to undermine the reputations of the overwhelming majority of clergy who live holy quiet lives in their parishes, tending to their flocks. These good men have been smeared with the same poisonous ink.

The brutal reality is that there are an estimated 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse in the United States today. Of these, between 40 and 60 percent were abused by a family member (for the most part uncles, cousins, stepfathers and live-in boyfriends). Carol Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan have produced a study showing that 5 percent were molested by school teachers, while the New York Times published a survey showing that fewer than 2% of the offenders were Catholic priests. But to read the papers, it would seem that Catholic clergy hold a monopoly in child molestation.

Burke's explanation for the furious anti-clericalism of yore could have been written today: The denigration of the clergy was "to teach them [the people] to persecute their own pastors....by raising a disgust and horror of the clergy."

If Burke were alive today, he would perhaps discern another motive behind the selective assaults on Catholic clergy, besides designs on Church property: namely to destroy the credibility of a powerful moral voice in public debate.

Read that last sentence again.  Ms. Lev has nailed it.  For if this powerful moral voice can be silenced, then liberals can replace that morality with their own.  And I'm here to tell you until my last breath that liberalism must not be allowed to do so.

Now read the piece in its entirety then pass it along to family, friends, acquaintances and especially those progressives who are acting like sharks at what's being sold as news today.

It might just be your moral duty.

With much thanks to The Anchoress who sent the column along via email and who has also linked to it.

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.


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Comments (6)

"Carol Shakeshaft and Au... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Carol Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan have produced a study showing that 5 percent were molested by school teachers, while the New York Times published a survey showing that fewer than 2% of the offenders were Catholic priests."

Actually, the math is a little fuzzy there. How many more children are exposed to school teachers than Catholic priests? The point still stands though that the vast majority are virtuous.

But besides that point, interestingly, there is/was an all out effort to paint the entire church with the same brush because there were some in the church who did little to stop it giving the impression that it was sanctioned by the church.

In contrast look at the teachers who have committed the same crime. No one has tried to tie in other teachers who may have known about a fellow teacher's behavior. Indeed I have not even heard one person question whether these teachers' superiors had any idea about their behavior, nor has there followed any attempt to imply that it was sanctioned by the US government.

Two standards.

I live in D/FW where a lot ... (Below threshold)
Mark L Author Profile Page:

I live in D/FW where a lot of the light started shining on all this with the Rudy Kos incidents, and frankly, I'm glad this is all coming out finally.

The Church creates a higher standard for itself. So it needs to be held to that higher standard. Also, when you look at the pattern of abuse, reassign, cover-up, abuse, reassign, cover-up over the years, with no accountability to anyone, well, it's frankly just disgusting.

This entire matter is prima... (Below threshold)
Don L:

This entire matter is primarily Catholic-bashing (though it was somewhat invited -but how that came about(un-Catholic liberal infiltration), is what the accusers don't wish to discuss?)

They are now clamoring to put The Pope on trial.

The way I see that going:

Mr Pope, sir, Were you ever made aware that your priests were doing this evil?

Why yes, I was always aware that some priests have succumbed to secularism and liberalism's code of morality, instead of following God's commandments against doing such behavior, just as some prosecutors like yourself have.

Mr. Pope,sir, isn't your church embarrassed to have evil people inside it?

Well, my Boss says that's why he made it in the first place -for sinners, and he proved it by hand-picking that Judas fellow. We don't deny sinners exist, we merely try to convert them.

Why do you suppose the world is angry at your Church, Holy Father?

Because, as the Person who created them warned us; the world will always hate us because of what we are called to believe, - they refuse that simple message and hate any and all who accept it, or represent it - they crucified Him for it, remember?


Posted by: Don L

Maybe, just maybe, instead ... (Below threshold)
max:

Maybe, just maybe, instead of shooting the messenger, "good" catholics should work to eliminate the institutionalized pedophelia that infests the catholic church as a whole.

Or not.

Yes, the church sets a high... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Yes, the church sets a higher standard. However, when you look at the public schools as having over twice the rate of this crime you have to ask why is it that there is no focus on the public schools as having institutionalized child molestation?

The reality is that the media focuses on the church because it is a conservative institution. The church stands for morality so he media attacks it to carry its message that morality is just relative and such rules have no real meaning.

On the other hand the public schools teach that there is no objective truth, a dictum perfectly in line with the liberal MSM's philosophy.

Maybe if the Catholic Priests unionized like the teachers we would see an end to reporting on child sex abuse in the church.

Hi and goodbye Bryan... (Below threshold)
914:

Hi and goodbye Bryan




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