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LostInParadise's avatar

Why does the Catholic church protect priests who are sex offenders?

Asked by LostInParadise (17945 points ) April 2nd, 2010

I don’t get it. People who are in positions of responsibility and moral leadership act immorally, mess up people’s lives and are in violation of the law. They should be removed from the priesthood and sent to prison. Why are they instead relocated and allowed to repeat the same offenses? Is there even one case of a priest who abused children who went to jail?

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22 Answers

davidbetterman's avatar

Because the priests involved in protecting those who have already been caught are undoubtedly also guilty of the same crime so they need too protect those already caught so as to be able to protect themselves when finally they, too, are caught for same.

tinyfaery's avatar

To protect the institution. I seriously doubt that they are all sex-offenders. The most important part of religion is to keep the religion going.

jaytkay's avatar

Yes, many priests have been convicted for molesting kids. Google “priest convicted”.

theichibun's avatar

Why does the Baptist church (or any other church for that matter) not come out and say that they’re getting rid of the people in their own church who were molesting children? For that matter, why doesn’t anyone else come out and say it?

I mean, damn, Catholic priests aren’t the only ones who have ever molested someone and tried to cover it up.

jaytkay's avatar

And we have an example right here of the attitudes protecting pedo priests.

phillis's avatar

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. They’re human. We’re human, too. Enough of us just haven’t gotten pissed off enough about it, yet, but it’s coming. Give it time.

phillis's avatar

This place is big enough for an echo? Who knew? :)

davidbetterman's avatar

echo echo echoooooooooo

ChaosCross's avatar

I would assume they do it to protect the image of the religion. If someone of a moral standing screws up, it totally discreds Catholic God which would not be good at all.

judochop's avatar

Because cult’s always protect their own. No matter what.

josie's avatar

Because they have a vested interest in promoting the notion that the priesthood has transcended the worldly temptations of the flesh. Since rejecting the very real nature of man’s interest in the pleasures of the flesh is ridiculous, they can only pretend that it does not happen. This is the end of the medieval church by the way.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Plenty of child molesting clergymen have gone to prison.

DarkScribe's avatar

They probably figure that God will get them and that they need do nothing. More likely though it is through fear of embarrassing and damaging the Church.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Because if they pretend hard enough, they believe it will never have happened.

It’s sort of a test of faith, only this time in reverse, since the original test of faith is believing in God hard enough to make that true, too.

Kayak8's avatar

The history of the Roman church includes elements that are clearly related to the accumulation of property and power. One might argue that the origin of celibacy was based on the avoidance of the church’s property being inherited by spouses and offspring and thereby undercutting the type of power a group can have with a great deal of wealth spread amongst a limited number of people.

There are, no doubt, those throughout the centuries who have felt it their responsibility to protect the wealth of the mother church. With this line of thinking (limiting the power to an elite few), the notion of many logical decisions in the modern world (married priests, female priests, etc) have no place, as such decisions would dilute the power.

If this is your world view and you are one of those who feel a personal responsibility to “protect” your own sense of perceived power, then you will make decisions in back rooms, you will castigate the complainants as misguided or lying, you will go to many great lengths to maintain the images that are important to your world view.

If reality suddenly creeps in with a very loud voice from a number of continents, you may be ill-prepared to spin an appropriate message if the only messages you know are rooted in protecting the source of your wealth. In this way, the Roman church is much more like a very large, privately owned corporation with no responsibility to share holders (other than their mortal souls, of course). In other ways, the church is essentially a government unto itself, with a ruler who is appointed for life, who is treated like a king, showered with wealth (and funky red shoes), who lives in a palace.

These are not easy things to give up . . .

Cruiser's avatar

Why does the university protect the professor who bangs the student for a good grade….why does the Temple or church protect the Rabbi, Iman or Monk who got frisky? Why do the Boy Scouts of America attempt to hide their indiscretions?? Why does the former President of the United States pretend cigars are just for smoking and why does Tiger Woods pretend vows are meant to be kept??? Sex is simply a powerful weapon to yield that even a God cannot stop from occurring and hiding that fact is a whole lot cheaper than lawsuits or divorces.

LostInParadise's avatar

I will do a Google on convicted priests to see if any of them ended up doing time.

I am not buying the argument about the Church protecting its own. If an employee of a corporation messes up, the corporation has no problem in getting rid of him. In the same way, the Church is bigger than any individual priest. If a small number of people are causing problems and harming reputation, the obvious thing to do would be to get rid of them.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), under the leadership of Joseph Ratzinger (before he became Pope), showed more concern for the welfare of culprits in the cassock than for the welfare of abused children. Here’s an interesting article

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,686495,00.html

Kayak8's avatar

@Cruiser I can think of cases of rabbis murdering their wives, but I can’t think of a single case of a rabbi (or an Imam, for that matter) molesting kids. I’m not saying it can’t/doesn’t happen, but I can’t think of a single case. I can think of dozens involving RC priests and some protestant ministers . . .

Kayak8's avatar

There is a really powerful documentary on this topic entitled, Deliver Us from Evil. Here is the Netflix description:

This unsettling Oscar-nominated documentary from filmmaker Amy Berg investigates the life of 30-year pedophile Father Oliver O’Grady and exposes the corruption inside the Catholic Church that allowed him to abuse countless children. Victims’ stories and a disturbing interview with O’Grady offer a view into the troubled mind of the spiritual leader who moved from parish to parish gaining trust… all the while betraying so many.

Cruiser's avatar

@Kayak8 In that case they are simply better at covering up their “clergies” indiscretions.

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