Catholic Clergy Abuse of Children.

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the godless side

A movie released this past November.  96% movie critics’ rating.  Well done Racheal McAdams.  Very well done Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton.  But the worst part about this movie was also its best — based on real facts of a real story.  Here’s Rotten Tomatoes’ summary:

SPOTLIGHT tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would…cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions…abuse in the Catholic Church…one of the biggest cover-ups in modern times.

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Back in our Christian days, my husband and I spent over two years doing what we felt like was the best way to fight human trafficking, specifically child sex trafficking.  In our opinion, (and this still stands), there is nothing worse than the rape of a child.

Add to this that the rape was done by an authority.

Add to this that the authority was a leader in the church.

Add to this that many many many other church leaders, including those in great power, knew about this rape and did nothing.

Add to this that not only did these leaders do nothing, but they covered it up.  For years.

I can’t even begin to put words to my rage at the deep, deep levels of destruction such abuse causes to the identity of a child.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, more than 17,500 victims in America alone have made credible accusations of clergy abuse. – Boston Globe

In addition, the end of the movie lists hundreds of other cities ALL OVER THE WORLD in which cases of child abuse from clergy in the Catholic Church has emerged.

I knew about some of these allegations a decade ago when this psychological sickness phenomenon among Catholic clergy first came to light.  It’s horrible, sad, dysfunctional, abusive.  But in some ways, I have some sympathy for the clergy.  Many, if not all, came from pasts of abuse themselves.  Hurt people hurt people.  It’s not an excuse, but it helps me to have some compassion.

But here’s what sickens me so much about this and pools my eyes with tears of pain and rage even as we *speak.*  It wasn’t just that the clergymen themselves hurt children.  It was their leaders.  And their leaders’ leaders. All the way down to the highest heights of Catholic church authority.   HOW THE HELL does a religious INSTITUTION think they could possibly be doing ANY good in this world if they are KNOWINGLY ALLOWING CHILD RAPE to be occurring by the THOUSANDS and doing LESS THAN NOTHING to help fix it?!?!?! What could POSSIBLY be worse than that?!?

Mistakes happen.  Big, deep, horrible wounding scarring mistakes happen.  Because people are human and humans are flawed.  But part of the reason that religious institutions exist is to provide accountability for the individuals.  Institutions suck for a lot of reasons, but one of their strengths is their collective knowledge, security, and protection they offer – by design – to keep the individuals within it safe.  The catastrophic tragedy of child abuse within every single level of the Catholic Church has completely shattered any faith (ironic word) I previously had in religion.

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The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.

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