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partyparty's avatar

The pope has apologised to the victims of child abuse within the Catholic church. Is this enough?

Asked by partyparty (9129 points ) September 19th, 2010

Yesterday in the UK, the pope apologised to the victims of child abuse, stating ‘I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes’ See this link
Has he done enough? If not, what should happen now?

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57 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

He should dissolve the Church. Immediately.
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Does an apology undo the hurt and psychological dysfunction of the victims? No, he should serve jail time for his role in covering up the abuse. As an accessory to the crimes committed by paedophile clergy to hundreds of victims, I think a life sentence might cover it.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Not by a long shot, to me the child abuse thing is actually almost insignificant. (i know im a monster)

At the moment, there are africans dropping dead in an aids pandemic at about the same rate that Hitler was killing Jews, and while all this is going on, you have him telling them that condoms cause aids. this is either some weird racial verbal attempt at genocide, or he thinks the deaths wont matter that much as long as they keep breeding to give him members and power. compared to that, the child abuse thing is not actually so bad (even if it is the thing that causes the most emotional reactions)

EDIT: his statement would actually be a little more convincing if the church had exposed what was going on within their organization, then apologized for it and implemented measures to prevent it in future, rather than letting others expose you, then doing nothing about it until it looked like you absolutely had to for the sole purpose of protecting the church. i doubt he has actually experienced any real regret at all.

nebule's avatar

no, I agree with all of the above.

jaytkay's avatar

He should turn himself in to authorities for trial. I don’t know about statutes of limitations, but I’m sure a dozen countries could come up with easily prosecuted charges like this:

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them…The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal. link

krose1223's avatar

Saying sorry doesn’t fix it… At all. And I don’t think the children or parents should accept it because then if it happens again they won’t think it’s such a big deal… They might even lose a little bit of self respect. He could never do enough to make ammends, but hopefully all the children will move on and lead healthy lives despite this fact.
I agree that he should do everything in his power to make sure it will never happen again.They should not allow the boys to ever be in a situation where something like this could happen.

My heart hurts thinking about this, especially after reading @poisonedantidote ‘s answer.

partyparty's avatar

@ragingloli Lovely thought thanks
@FireMadeFlesh What about the people who committed the crimes?
@poisonedantidote his statement would actually be a little more convincing if the church had exposed what was going on within their organization, then apologized for it
Yes I couldn’t agree with you more, thanks
@jaytkay I don’t think he will ever be brought to trial do you?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@jaytkay RE: 200 deaf boys. I saw a news report about a year ago, estimating about 60.000 cases in Ireland alone. choir boy jokes are nothing new, this has been going on for decades now.

@inGeneral… This sorry of his is obviously damage control, directed at people he probably views as ignorant peasants. Lets hear some talk of reparations, show how sorry your pockets are. Its not like they dont have the money, he lives in a place where master pieces of art are treated as accessories and adornments.

Organizations like the taliban must look at this and wish they could do even a fraction of that damage.

EDIT: Note that I do not blame actual catholics in this (people are free to seek salvation any way they like), nor regular every day preists (the ones who have not abused anyone) but anyone ranking higher than a preist I see as lending their name to all of this.

Seek's avatar

Along with everything written above, I’d like to state that
nowhere in the article does it mention an apology. He “expresses sorrow”. Not an apology.

I’m sorrowful that I have a bad relationship with my mother. I’m not in the least apologetic about how I feel about her.

ragingloli's avatar

The only thing that bastard Palpatine is sorry about is that they have been caught.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr yes, “sorry” would imply blame, and they do claim he is infallible. god’s spokesman on earth, who simply can’t ever be wrong about anything ever. I don’t think anything would ever make him say sorry. the organization may, lower ranking officials may, but not him.

partyparty's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Yes you are absolutely correct in that he has only exprssed sorrow. Never thought of it like that.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote – The pope is only infallible in expressing the mandates of the Catholic church as it applies to dogmatic teachings based on their faith. Papal infallibility does not extend to the pope’s personal life, or even his management of the church or its employees.

As to the statement, no…of course it’s not enough. Would criminal prosecution help? Probably not. Please tell me if anyone thinks they would even be close to a conviction before the pope died (barring any immunity concerns).

What it does do is place the victims in a position to start to demand concessions from the church…and that’s what the next step should be. How the pope responds to that will dictate how I feel the situation may be helped by the statement.

NOTHING will fix this. The best to hope for is a better way to heal, and a way to prevent it in the future.

partyparty's avatar

@iamthemob What about therapy for the victims, and perhaps financial compensation… oh and a letter apologising to each and every one of them?

iamthemob's avatar

@partyparty

That could be what they want. I would want conversations between the victim and the pope (publicly as much as possible, but respecting victims wishes) to determine that.

However, I think that those would probably be things that would be discussed. A personal (personal, not form) letter to each at them should be something that hopefully he’s writing right now.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@iamthemob I stand corrected. (i´ll look up more on it later)

Regarding your question, no, there is more or less zero chance of a conviction. even if you got him in to court today. and if i’m honest i’m not too sure what punishment he should get. he personally is probably only implicated in a case or two. and we are talking about a cover up, not actual molestation. by the time the waters have been muddied and blame thrown about he will probably be accountable for very little. however that does not help me accept any of this any better.

the way i see it there is a fundamental problem with the way the organization operates, it was happening under the previous pope, it has happened under this one, and will probably continue to happen under future ones. what needs to change is the attitude of the organization. at the moment they are too concerned with their image to get anything to change.

however, for his comments on condoms causing aids he should be punished, harshly. its an abuse of the trust people have put in him, about as bad if not worse than the surgeon general saying drinking bleach helps your toddler develop strong bones. and this is something where there is no doubt, we have it in black and white from the horses mouth, something they have not even attempted to cover up, and a position they still maintain today. for this, i do think jail time is in order.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote he said that? GROSS! Someone should tell him that abstinence probably, ironically, causes more AIDS

poisonedantidote's avatar

@iamthemob here is one report of it, but yes, there are documents issued by him in writting stating this as an official position. a topic that has been raised in debates a few times and always defended.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No. I don’t know what ‘enough’ would be, but this is just a shtick.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob You want proof this is a shtick – I don’t have proof because, thankfully, I haven’t been near any of these assholes enough to hear private conversations but it’s not hard to extrapolate given what I know of this institution and the fact that this comes so much later than necessary that it’s only damage control and done badly, to boot.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

So…wouldn’t it be better to assume truth and figure out how and what they can do further to prove it’s not shtick?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@me… regarding my comments on aids, remove the word “cause” and replace with “spread”. there have been several statements regarding this, and he has used several different terms. the most direct being “spread”. but he has never said “cause” as in condoms have properties that cause aids or that condoms are infected with aids. i just wanted to clear that up before i accidentally cast doubt on my own points.

he has used terms such as: aggravates, increase chances of, wont stop, and spread aids.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

No, of course not. Otherwise we wouldn’t have child molesters in jails: they could be convicted in court (as long as they weren’t Catholic priests and bishops whose crimes had been carefully covered up and prosecutions thwarted) and simply apologize, and move on.

What an absurd notion.

The Catholic church has to start to acknowledge that this heinous behavior is not only still going on, but is still being covered up, glossed over and passed on to new parishes.

partyparty's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Thanks for your answer. I really don’t understand why these people haven’t been prosecuted, do you?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@liminal nice one, ill throw that in my faves box for if i need it again.

Aster's avatar

All parties involved in a cover-up should be punished with jail time and fines. But has it happened? Are they “above” jail with pot smokers serving sentences??

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob I don’t have to be nice and understanding about this. And how can I prove they’re genuine anyway?

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Who said anything about being nice and understanding? You don’t have to do that to demand follow up, and hold them accountable for anything the statement entails.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob But that’s the thing: nothing can be done with an apology statement, that’s why it’s a perfect shtick because it’s meaningless – as to the demand of follow up and accountability, people have asked for this long before this pathetic gesture came up.

Ron_C's avatar

I think that the church needs to change it’s policies, completely. It has to renounce the infallibility of the pope. Allow individual parishes autonomy, break up the power of the hierarchy, reject celibacy for priests and nuns, and open its books to church members.

In other words become more like the protestants. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and the Catholic Church has been proving this axiom for hundreds of years. It is time to reject the idea of a Universal church or universal religion.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

So instead of “Finally! Now what…?” we should say “Too little, too late.” ?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob No, I say ‘too little, too late’ and ‘now what?’...and then I answer ‘now nothing, because it’ll keep happening’.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: So…the latter (considering that in your version, the second and third statements cancel each other out).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob Nope, I ask them both.

partyparty's avatar

@Aster I agree the priests should be prosecuted, so why hasn’t this happened I wonder? Also the people who have been abused should receive a personal apology, be given some kind of financial compensation and be offered some kind of counselling, however long, or how much it takes. What do you think?
@Ron_C Such a good answer, but I doubt it will ever happen, do you?

Ron_C's avatar

@partyparty of course they’ll never do it. If there is one thing that politicians and priests like, it is power. They never give up power.

partyparty's avatar

@Ron_C So very true :-)

Aster's avatar

@partyparty “Aster I agree the priests should be prosecuted, so why hasn’t this happened I wonder? Also the people who have been abused should receive a personal apology, be given some kind of financial compensation and be offered some kind of counselling, however long, or how much it takes. What do you think?”
The victims have in many cases received a fat check.
I don’t know about counseling but sure; the church should offer it. But not Catholic counseling; who would trust them?? Someone said that some of the perpetrators have gotten arrested. I think this is worth “googling.”
I agree with @Simone_De_Beauvoir . Permanent problem. Continuous victims. I’d like to see the statistics of how many members they’ve lost.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s not good enough. The churches need to do away with the vows of abstinence and celibacy and allow clergy to live as full functioning humans. The ideal of abstinence and celibacy need to stop being blamed for pedophiles acting out. The churches don’t make pedophiles. Pedophiles choose the churches and the churches cover up the abuses so pedophiles keep joining the churches, it’s a good racket.

San Francisco didn’t used to be a pisspot of vagrancy and vandalism but instituting the best homelessness programs in the nation in the 1980’s coupled with doing away with many mental institutions brought in all elements who could take advantage and also exploit. Just an example.

lloydbird's avatar

Rape is rape.
Sexual Assault is Sexual Assault.
Don’t people usually do jail time for these crimes?

” We’ve been bad and must stop being bad.” (Paraphrasing)
Is that really good enough?

thekoukoureport's avatar

How is it that an organization that is considered a state, with the pope as it’s head so he can’t be brought into court, get protection from the court by being allowed to file bankruptcy and not pay the full amount of damages OWED to the victims?

No! the pope can never make up for all the sorrow the catholic church has brought onto this world in the name of the Price of Peace!

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@partyparty Those who committed the crimes should also be given life in jail. Preferably sharing a cell with a bikie.

Symbeline's avatar

You can apologize all you want, but really that means fuckall if barely anything is done about what happened, and if nothing is done to prevent it in the future.
I know, the Catholic Church isn’t the only people who do this, but they’re pretty damn notorious for it, and that says something a lot more than some staged up apology might.

iamthemob's avatar

What’s ridiculous about this is the reason for catholic celibacy is in many ways based on the fact that concubinage and children “begat” by church leaders were a threat to the wealth and property of the church. Throughout much of history, as well as throughout the entireity of the Reformist movement, celibacy was not viewed as a requirement.

Regardless, it’s doctrine, not dogma. It needs to go.

partyparty's avatar

@Neizvestnaya So you think paedophiles actually choose the church for their own purposes? Wow never thought of that!
@lloydbird Yes I think they should be prosecuted. Why aren’t they I wonder? Or have they?
@thekoukoureport Yes I understand the Pope can’t be prosecuted, but what about the actual paedophile priests? Surely they could, and should, be prosecuted. What do you think?
@Symbeline Yes something should be put in place to prevent it in the future, but what?
@everybody. Is there anyone here who has answered who is Catholic? Has this changed your views of your church?

thekoukoureport's avatar

The question of prosecution or not is not a difficult one. Of course they should and be castrated as well. The question that bothers me the most is how so many can get away with for so long? How many lives were pushed aside to continue to hide an ever increasing epidemic perpetrated by an organization (Tax Exempt) that preaches the word of Jesus Christ. They should be stripped of there tax status, they should be liqudated like any other business that has recklously destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of people for their own lust for power! And when that is over they should have to walk in line past all the nuns they have subjecated over the years and have their hands smacked with a ruler.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@partyparty Richard Dawkins ran a campaign to have the Pope arrested when he landed on UK soil. I think legally he could be prosecuted, but realistically it would never happen because of the backlash it would provoke.

partyparty's avatar

@thekoukoureport Oh naughty, naughty!! LOLL
@FireMadeFlesh Yes I seem to remember an article in the papers about Richard Dawkins, but as you say it would never happen.

Aster's avatar

Where are the ads about Baptist ministers and Methodist ministers molesting kids? I’ve never seen One.

partyparty's avatar

@Aster Are you saying it doesn’t happen in other churches, or that it is never publicised?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@partyparty: I think pedophiles choose the church not primarily for access to victims or the fact the churches have a history of covering up abuse but because they believe giving themselves over to a God and spiritual service to others will take away their sexual urges towards children. I think they really believe in their vows of abstinence and celibacy and the idea they can be delievered through spiritual devotion and service. Unfortunately… well.

Symbeline's avatar

@partyparty I’m Catholic, ’‘technically’’, or at least, that’s what my family’s ascribed too. I, however, have never followed it, and I don’t even believe in God.

I don’t know how to prevent child abuse, in whichever form it takes. Learn to recognize people with such intents? Easier said than done. For this particular case, well maybe the Catholic church needs to relook it’s rules and functions, if, indeed, things like celibacy might be a cause. Anyways, I think the matter needs be studied, instead of just accepting apologies.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Symbeline reviewing rules and functions and whether or not organization policies might have contributed is something that only reasonable people would do. The Church would never admit to such temporal means of repairing the problem. Instead, they’ll pray, seek “divine guidance” and rely upon their conscience and morality to fix the problem.

In other words, “business as usual”.

Symbeline's avatar

Then someone else should review it. I sure as hell wasn’t counting on them much anyway lol.

iamthemob's avatar

I do really, regardless of my feelings on moving forward, think it’s detestable that this took so long. This has been far, far too long – this documentary, released four years ago, showed some of the victims and how the church handled the situation. At the time, over 100,000 people had come forward (8/10 abuse cases are not reported) and spent already over a billion in settlments:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliver_Us_from_Evil_%282006_film%29

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