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Saturday, January 14, 2006 

First Bishop to Report a Personal Sexual Abuse Encounter

I have been trying to figure out how long the Catholic church has had priests molesting children. Here's a new piece of data: an Auxiliary Bishop in Detroit reports that he was a victim in 1945. He is brave both for talking about the issue and to ask several states to temporarily lift statues of limitations so more lawsuits could go forward.

A Washington Post article reports that the molester "has been dead for more than a decade" and quoted Thomas Gumbleton as "I've been saying for 10 years that these cases should be handled with pastoral sensitivity..." That's a bit odd because the scandal went public around 2002.

Gumbleton kept his silence until the older priest died. I can guess why he'd keep quiet (controlled by the abuser and/or ashamed for the church), but I can also see how other molested children would have wished for someone to have stopped him sooner.

As the trial for the inmate that killed child molester John Geoghan is in the headlines, here's a well-written non-Boston Globe article from 2002 showing the stunning lack of compassion that the church has demonstrated.

How is it that someone whose life mission is to minister could turn their back on the ones hurting the most? What got in the way of basic empathy?

What got in the way of basic empathy?
Corruption and the need for power. But mostly corruption.

>I have been trying to figure out how long the Catholic church has had priests molesting children

How long has there been a Catholic church?

stardust, is corruption tolerated cuz it's not explicitly denounced in the bible??

JF, you are even more cynical than me! :)

I believe the problem stems from "Sovereign immunity"...they can get away with it. If a layperson were to be covering up a crime, they would go to prison for a long time. However, because these are "holy" men and representatives of the powerful catholic church, the justice system is afraid of doing anything that may upset the religious followers of the catholic church and the powers that control them. I think if pervert priests were tried and punished like regular people the problem would lessen dramatically, however there would be an outcry from the general catholic community against politicians who want to win elections, and the judicial system.

I found a bible verse condemning molesting children.
In the New Testament, Jesus says: "[H]e that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6).
I guess like with other passages in the bible "smorgasbord" of scripture verses, they can just pick and choose what they want to enforce.

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