Research Essay – Sexual Molestation in the Catholic Church
The Catholic Clergy has maintained a system that selects, cultivates, protects, defends and produces sexual abusers. We are amazed to find how often a man, who would otherwise be behind bars if he were not a priest, is entrusted with the care of souls. You may not be keeping your celibacy, but as long as it’s kept a secret it’s ok. Clericalism, the act of keeping a priest on a pedestal, away from ordinary people, led parents to not believe their children when told of sexual molestation. This has been classified as Nobel Cause Corruption - a belief that good intentions purify bad behavior. For a priest, the belief was his own goodness could transform a perversion into a holy act.
There is a broad social acceptance that clergy, from priests to the Pope are perfect. This goes to a perversion of power that can be twisted. A twenty-five year study of celibacy and priesthood done by Benedictine Monk Richard Sipe, Clerical Sex Therapist, revealed that at any given time only 50% of Roman Catholic priests practice celibacy. The Vatican knows celibacy is not practiced. The higher you go to religious superiors, the more they know.
Patrick Walsh, a former Benedictine Monk, was sent around the country to put out fires for the Church; remove molesters from the parish. Walsh thought he was going in to uncover crime and fix the problem, but the Church wanted him to pay off victims. Walsh was authorized to pay victims up to 250 thousand dollars providing he could get a confidentially agreement from them. In 1995 there was a budget of seven million dollars to handle the abuse problems. When Walsh realized the abuse did not stop and the offending priests were allowed to stay in the Ministry, he left the priesthood. The policy of the Church was to snuff out scandal and not report it to the local authorities.
Father Gerald Fitzgerald, a priest in Boston, formed an order to treat pedophile priests. The first order of the Servants of Paraclete opened in New Mexico in 1947. Father Fitzgerald did not believe in psychology or counseling; he favored spiritual treatment hoping that sex offenders found salvation on their knees. Fitzgerald felt sexual predators should be defrocked and hidden behind the monastery walls. He felt priests who sexually abuse children are like vipers, you can never stop them. Fitzgerald wrote to Pope Paul VI and told him child sexual molestation was a terrible problem and that pedophile priests were infesting seminaries. The thought was to then contain them on an island and the process began for the Church to buy an island in the Caribbean called Carioca, off the coast of Grenada. A five thousand dollar down payment was made but the Church Superiors overruled the idea of an island. The hierarchy decided to change the policy of the Servants of the Paracletes. Instead of removing them, they would be rehabilitated and re-circulated. Between the 1950’s and the 1990’s the Catholic Church spent eighty million dollars treating over two thousand priestly child sexual molesters in Italy, France, Great Brittan, Africa, South America and the Philippians. The attitude of the Vatican is “we” don’t turn in our priests. This is “our” problem. “We” don’t refer to the civil authorities when they are committing felony crimes. There was a policy in the Vatican of keeping this absolutely secret. The last estimate on molestation cases have cost the church over two billion dollars.
In 2002 a major sex abuse scandal broke where a priest in Boston was accused of raping a boy for years. Another priest was then accused by more than 130 boys of rape and sexual molestation. Documents show Boston churches knew of the abusive behavior but never informed the authorities. One priest, John Hanlen, received a life sentence for the rape of a young boy. After that, thousands of victims came forward across the country. Identified as a key figure that...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document