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Question Title Posted By Question Date
Scandals Anthony Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This morning I turned on my computer and read on the main page,'New Scandal Rocks The Catholic Church'. I asked myself "What now?"...An article appeared about a journalist for NRC Handelsblad in The Netherlands by the name of Joep Dohmen who did a report about some 10 teenage boys who were castrated during the 1950s by the Dutch Roman Catholic Church. According to the story,they were castrated in Catholic hospitals to treat their homosexuality and also as punishemnt for telling on the priests who had molested them.

It was very hurtful to read some of the comments by posters on the internet who depicted the Catholic Churh as an evil organization. There were posts about a BBC report about thousands of babies being stolen from Catholic hospitals in Spain over a period of four decades and sold to devout Catholic couples who couldn't have children. All of this was done with the approval of the clergy there and the real parents were lied to making them believe that their babies died after childbirth. A 'Clinica San Ramón' in Madrid was mentioned as one of those hospitals.

The Magdalene Laundries in Ireland were also mentioned by one of the posters and the abuse of the women who worked there by the nuns running these laundries.

What are we as practicing Catholics supposed to say when non Catholic friends bring up these horrible stories? All of this is very embarassing when I try to defend my faith.

Question Answered by

 Dear Anthony:

There are a couple of issues to consider when dealing with situations like this:

1) the media never reports on the Church accurately. The media exaggerates, misinterprets, slants the report, or outright lies on any report concerning the Church. I mean by this, that this happens with 100% of the reports on the Church by non-Catholic media. There is always some aspect that is not accurate in some way.

Thus, news reports are never to be trusted to be accurate and unbiased when the subject is the Church.

2) An example of this bias are headlines like, "Catholic Church Castrated Boys". The Catholic Church has done no such thing. Mutilation is a grave sin. It is not the Catholic Church that does these things, it is the sins of individual members of the Church, such as particular bishops, priests, brothers, sisters, or laity. These people are violating Church teaching not carrying out Church teaching.

I know for a fact that the media likes to distort information about the Church. A few years ago a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times called me. She noticed that we had resources in our Deliverance Counseling training program from a priest in Chicago. This priest had been convicted of molesting a 13 year old boy. She asked me if I knew this. I said that I didn't.

The reporter then asked if we were going to discontinue using this priest's teaching tapes because of his conviction. I replied that the decision on that is up to our board, but that we would not stop using the priest's material just because he was convicted. I explained that a man's legacy is not defined by the mistakes he makes, even a crime, and that fact does not diminish the good teaching that he did. After all, if Hitler were to say 1+1=2, is he not correct even though he is Hitler?

The reporter didn't seem to like my answer. She referred to this priest as a pedophile. I said, "Wait a minute. Didn't you say he molested a 13 year old? That means he is ...." She interrupted me saying, "I know, he is a Hebephile."

This discussion proves that these reporters know the difference between a Pedophile (preference for pre-pubescent children), and a Hebephile (preference pubescent children to 14 years olds), and a Ephebophile (preference for teenagers 15-19) but do not care about misleading the public — using the term pedophile sells more papers, of course.

Even if the facts are accurate it does not mean the story is true. The film with Sally Feld and Paul Newman, Absence of Malice, illustrates this point. A reporter writes a story about a businessman. While the information was technically accurate, the reporter presented the information in such a way that led readers to jump to the wrong conclusions. 

This has become a mainstay of the alleged "journalism" of today.

Back in 1991 during the Gulf War I watched a speech on CPAN by President Bush. About a hour later NBC reported on the speech during the Evening News. What was reported was an utter lie. I turned to my father and said, "That was a lie. I saw the speech live on CPAN and President Bush did not say what Tom Brokaw just reported. Of course, few people would realize this distortion unless they say the speech live on CPAN.

The media are all whores. They are after what sells papers or garners ratings, or they are after propaganda to their own biases, but what they are not after is the truth.

3) There is nothing that some individual bishop, priest, religious, or laymen has done that is not done in other organizations and communities. This is not an excuse. These stories are heinous. Rather, we need to keep this in perspective.

For example, a studies have shown that children who are molested by professionals are most molested by mental health professionals. Psychiatrist are the worse, followed by Psychologists, and then Social Workers. Of children molested by professionals 66% of the cases involve those three professions. Clergy of all stripes represent 11% of cases.

Catholic Priests are the least likely to molest. Less than 1-1/2 percent of priests in the U.S. have been convicted of molesting. Again, this is not to excuse those Catholics, but to put into perspective the issues.

The is also molesting, a lot of it, among teachers. Non-Catholic orphanages are notorious for abuse. Charles Dickens wrote about non-Catholic orphanages.

There was a time in which the practice of mutilation was extensive in mental hospitals. In fact, mental patients and the disabled were experimented upon by the U.S. Government many years ago.

There are plenty of horror stories to go around and plenty of dirty hands.

The point is that there is no excuse for such evil behavior by anyone. Such things do happen. But, these actions are a violation of Church teaching. 

Human beings are flawed and sinful by nature. Catholics are no different. Catholics sin. That is a "dah" moment. But, the individual sins of even a bishop does not represent the Church.

An illustration of the nonsense of this is seen by considering a relative who is a thief. Does that mean the that whole family approved of the thievery? Richard Nixon committed a crime of covering-up the Watergate burglary. Does that indict the entire United States?
Well, neither does the sins of individuals, even that of Popes, indict the whole Church. Those who believe that are hypocrites because they do not apply that standard to all groups.

Thus, the answer to those who ask about these horror stories is that everyone sins, including Catholic clergy and religious. Those religious, priests, or bishops involved behaved in violation of Church teaching. They sinned against their victims, they sinned against the Church, and they sinned against God. As such, they will be held accountable before God.

Their sins, however, do not represent the Church anymore than Nixon's actions represented the entire United States, anymore than Uncle John's criminal acts represent the whole family.

With that said, these stories are horrific. Those who have committed criminal acts need to be prosecuted no matter who they are. But, none of this indicts the Church herself.

We need to pray for the victims and for the perpetrators of these evil acts. 

I hope this helps.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary

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