Social Question

ETpro's avatar

How can ranking members of the Catholic hierarchy live with their hypocrisy?

Asked by ETpro (34428points) March 6th, 2010

Another sex scandal is rocking the Catholic Church. The church not only teaches that members and society in general should be either heterosexual or celibate, and if heterosexual, married faithfully to one partner, they actively pursue laws forcing people to behave in such a way, and seek to use the force of law to punish and imprison those who don’t.

How can an individual reconcile their own behavior, such as sexual abuse of children or lewd conduct with strings of male prostitutes with their public display of piety and moral outrage at behavior they secretly subscribe to themselves?

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51 Answers

janbb's avatar

Sorry, just a laugh “either be heterosexual or celebrate”? You may want to edit that.

kevbo's avatar

Their real religion is the worship of power & pleasure. The rest of it is deceiving you with your assumption of guilt.

ETpro's avatar

@janbb Ha! Darn spell checker. Edit done. Thanks.

janbb's avatar


ETpro's avatar

@janbb If poor spelling is a mortal sin, I am doomed. :-)

ucme's avatar

Religion is so fucked up, always has been probably always will. Makes Madonna’s song more fun “If we took a holiday,took some time to celibate” Mmmmm, that would make a change for her methinks.

talljasperman's avatar

“they go to confession?”

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

At least it sounds like they’re cooperating and trying to root out the problem in this situation. I’m still mad as hell over them refusing to release the names of those found guilty of Six Decades of Ritual Child Abuse in the Irish Orphanages. Why hasn’t anyone Stormed the Freakin’ Castle?!?!?!?!?!?!?


This is NOT a Religion problem. No religion endorses this behavior. No religion promotes this atrocity. The Catholic Church is not the guilty party here. The Ring Leaders of a Homosexual Prostitution Organization are the guilty party.

talljasperman's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I wonder if other religions have the same problems?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Certainly they do. Corporations have these problems too. Little League Sports organizations have these problems. Child Care facilities have these problems. NASA has these problems. Government Agencies have these problems.

This is a human problem.

talljasperman's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Teachers and solders in the B.C. era approved of molesting children openly. I see some progress… now they know what they are doing is frowned upon…so says my old Philosophy professor…I was quick to say that I’m not going to get an A in his class

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

We must stop objectifying people.

Society is what’s fucked up, not any one particular group of people. Our modern culture has betrayed us, teaching us to falsely objectify people, and even more truant, is our propensity to personify objects. The future of Robot Love will make things even worse.

talljasperman's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies watch out for Electro-Gonorrhea

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

That is a fate best left for those who abuse our children.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

I think that a lot of people that are in the church unfortunately hide behind their religion to make them feel better about the sins they commit. I also think that any church that instills a lot of rules and regulations placed upon its people will have people that are repressed and commit these haneous acts.

anartist's avatar

This is not a question—this is a rant!!!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well lets take advantage of the extra lurve before it gets pulled!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

God forgives their transgressions because they believe in him. Using that as a guiding principle allows people to do all sorts of awful things but that’s their take, not god’s.

tinyfaery's avatar

Being sanctioned by god is the best defense.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

No one is attempting to get God to sanction a homosexual prostitution ring. These are criminals who found a great cover for their operation. That’s all it is.

Buttonstc's avatar

Did everyone forget about the prominent Jewish Rabbi caught on camera by NBCs To Catch A Predator ? He was all ready for a nice little sexual tryst with an underage teen. In later followups, they pointed out that he was dismissed by his congregation. Occasionally, there is a visible comeuppance as hopefully there will be in this latest Vatican item. And I hope it’s a doozy, legally and otherwise.

As Real Eyes pointed out though, this is certainly not a problem unique to the Catholic Church or any religious body.

The Hare Krishnas had a similar scandal years ago with individual leaders and continued physical and sexual abuse of children.

But, there is a greater degree of hypocrisy attached when someone representing a religion engages in any type of horrendous behavior which obviously goes against the tenets to which they hold. We wonder how they can live with themselves.

Well, apparently, very well from all outward appearances. It’s called rationalization.

But isn’t the same principle at work with all the recent political figures ( Spitzer, Edwards, Sanford, etc) likewise caught being human. Very human.

As pointed out previously, it’s a human problem not limited to any type of group or classification. It just prompts greater outrage when the guilty party is in a position to pass laws or dictate the behavior of others for conduct in which they themselves take part.

We expect more of religious people or elected officials. Spitzer having a reputation as a tough DA prosecuting crimes including prostitution with such zeal does present an unpleasant irony which sticks in the craw.

But, thus has it ever been.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies and @Buttonstc No, it’s certainly not unique to Catholicism or even to religion. But the hypocrisy of advocating for laws banning same-sex marriage, depriving gays of rights, etc. while secretly hiring gay prostitutes is what concerns me, and that is largely unique to religion and to politicians.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Did they “secretly” hire them, or “unfortunately” hire them?

The Christian is taught to love the gay prostitute. That is the message of Christ at least. But they have no “secret” intentions of allowing criminals to attain positions of authority in the Church. And they have no “secret” intentions of allowing criminals to use the Church as a front for their prostitution ring.

The reasons the Church disapproves of gay marriage have nothing to do whatsoever with them being unwittingly duped and played by an organized crime ring.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

How can ranking members of the Catholic hierarchy live with their hypocrisy? Probably the same way the Republican party deals with theirs. They ignore it, hoping it will just fade away, be forgotten or be totally swept under the rug by some other unbelievable scandal.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

It’s either that… or they make up something worse about some other group or person.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies The people in positions of power in the church who were running a prostitution righ didn’t “unfortunately” hire prostitutes, they definitely did it in secret, and quite knowingly. The priests who abused children didn’t “unfortunately” do it, they “secretly” did it. You seem determined to forgive the hypocrisy of doing such thinkgs while advocating for harsh penalties for others who do far less. Why?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I don’t blame organizations. Unless there is a charter or specific doctrine that states that behavior is encouraged, then the organization is not to blame. The KKK wants White supremacy at any cost. The founding principle of that organization is corrupt. The Nazi wants a Jew Free world. The founding principle of that organization is corrupt. The Jihadist wants the Great Satan destroyed. The founding principle of that organization is corrupt.

There is no founding principle of the Catholic Church to promote homosexual prostitution for profit. There are some corrupt people within that organization who use their position to advantage themselves at the expense of others.

A Bernie Maddoff does not justify a belief that all Banks or Bankers are corrupt.

As I read that article… the Church was doing everything possible to assist in police investigations. That’s why I commend them. But in the case of the Irish Orphanages, the Church blatantly refused to release the names of those found guilty of the crimes committed. That’s why I demonize them.

It’s not All or Nothing. Each case is as individual in its details as much as each person is individual in their intentions. Unless I read it wrongly, the article you cited is not claiming the Catholic Church was “secretly” running a prostitution gambit. It unfortunately and unwittingly hired some individuals that used the Church as a front of perceived innocence in order to commit a crime that the Church knew nothing about, and did not support in any way.

The same thing happens at myriad organizations. It’s not just a Religion thang.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Perhaps the founding principle of the Catholic Church to insist on priestly celibacy has a role in how often sex scandals, particularly homosexual sex, shows up in that organization. Sure it happens in all large organizations, but with nowhere near the regularity it happens in Roman Catholicism.

IveGotItInMyHand's avatar

The money’s good.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Perhaps what you say is true. I’ve heard that argument before. It may be valid to a degree. I’ve also heard that homosexuals who don’t know how to deal with their sexuality might turn to the Priesthood in order to hide their inclinations, with a hope that God will somehow take their self inflicted guilt away in the process. Both of us speculating of course.

But celibacy is not supposed to be a chore. Paul claimed “The Gift of Celibacy” for himself and others who were called to share that gift. He promoted the benefits of doing as such but did not command anyone to abide by his choice unless they were called to it. Choosing celibacy is a dangerous decision if not made carefully and with the proper motivations.

I have known The Gift of Celibacy before. 7 years of spiritual pursuit offered me an opportunity to experience that gift. And it was truly a gift. I chose it for the right reasons and I’m very glad that I did. I was called to it. But it does not have to be a life long commitment by any means. And it certainly is not a commandment by God. It cannot be forced upon anyone. The Church is wrong for asking this of people, men and women alike.

I rejected my celibacy about two years ago. But that time has gifted me with extreme control over my sexual passions. I now offer myself as a gift to the right woman and for the right reasons. There is no longer a desire to fuck anything that moves. This coming from a man with two illegitimate children from two separate women, and enough abortions with other women before them under my belt that I cannot count. Celibacy has done me a great good, and my time with it has given me cause to see what a complete beastly asshole I used to be. I was the worst of the worse, decadent, deviant and defiant by all measures.

If one is not called to celibacy, then they should never attempt such a thing. It sets them up for failure without addressing the real issues in their lives. But if one is called to celibacy, for themselves, then it will be a most treasured time of their lives. And like me, there is absolutely no reason to associate with any one particular religion to use that choice as catalyst for valid life renewal.

Maximillian's avatar

Those priests who do commit acts of crime are excommunicated by the Vatican, and the Church does indeed assist the police. Now, like any other organization, the Church is human, composed of flawed men. They will have their bad moments. And those priests who do commit these crimes are obviously very ill. Pedophilia is a mental disease. It isn’t taught. It isn’t a doctrine.

davidbetterman's avatar

They are sick fucks.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Who are “they”? The Catholic Church Elders, or the Homosexual Prostitution Ring Leaders that committed the crime?

Buttonstc's avatar

Has there been a collective forgetting of the fact that the RC church, as an organization, did everything possible NOT TO COOPERATE with investigations of deviant priests molesting countless children OVER AND OVER again until it just reached a tipping point where there were so many victims and they were so vocal that it was impossible to keep the lid on it.

They certainly didn’t cooperate with alacrity. I remember interviews with frustrated law enforcement people and lawyers about all the obfuscation and stalling.

Prior to this whole thing breaking open it was SOP to keep transferring these guys from one location to another, knowing full well that hundreds of children in the new location would be thrown to the wolves.

They rationalized it by sending them off for a period of “treatment” which changed nothing. The next time the complaints started at the new location, it was the same pattern all over again.

Certain bishops in certain locations even had a reputation of being willing to accept these transfers ( New Mexico was one I recall).

Pity the children living in those areas. This was being condoned (in a hidden way of course) at the highest levels of the RC church for years and years. Obviously it wasn’t publicized as “official policy” but for all intents and purposes that was the policy.

Instead of tossing these deviants out, they just kept shuffling them around. I think that those bishops, cardinals and higher ups are just as guilty of harm as the ones who did the actual abuse. They knowingly kept these guys from facing criminal prosecution, sheltered then and shuffled them around time and time again.

As a matter of fact, this latest dustup has me far less upset than the previous. All the ones involved in this latest scandal are presumably consenting adults. If they were being paid for their services, it’s pretty difficult to argue any significant harm.

But the ones who covered up those who preyed upon innocent kids and ruined their lives (not just emotionally but SPIRITUALLY ) deserve exactly what Christ spoke of:

It were better that a millstone be hung around his neck and he were cast into the depths of the sea.

Of course the RC church didn’t endorse this current nonsense officially, but by their actions and underhanded methods, they most certainly endorsed the destruction of countless children’s lives for years and years.

To try to make the argument that the church did not endorse this because it wasn’t their official policy is rather disingenuous.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Completely agreed. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m sick of myself for not insisting that the truth be known, addressed, and accounted for. I’m so sick of it… just sickened.

And as much as I want the victims to find comfort and justice, as much as I want that, I must also acknowledge another crime committed, another crime that is also most often overlooked.

This is a crime of butchering the teachings of Jesus. The doctrines of the Catholic Religion do not support prostitution or crimes against the innocent. Yet these monsters hide behind it to cover their compulsions, and ultimately crucify Christ again in the process.

Buttonstc's avatar

You are absolutely right. The doctrines do not support victimizing innocents.

Unfortunately the practices (of years and years) are a different story altogether.

But they will ultimately be judged with perfect justice which our flawed system is not equipped to dispense.

little8632g's avatar

Its like with anything and everything – the ones that are pure-true-real are few and far between. And maybe thats how its supposed to be. If being a priest was straight up easy – the returns would not be as significant. Does that make sense? As humans we have opportunities to make choices all day every day and we often make the wrong choices – even if they are small ones with little obvious impact – and that is our journey. Thank God for choice!

Maximillian's avatar

I just want to say here.

First off, moving priests around was policy, and I’ll explain that here soon. But it was NOT the policy to destroy those lives. I feel very offended by that. We have entire organizations in helping the abused.


The pedophilia cases weren’t exactly shown until the mid-early 1900s. At that time, the policy was to, in fact, put the priests in rehabilitation, and then move them. We thought that that would be the thing to do. We tried it for many years. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out too well. It obviously is not the thing to do.

In recent years, the policy has changed. Its now requested (almost ordered, actually) that bishops report any cases to the police. In fact, there have been stricter excommunications lately.

Remember, pedophilia, in most cases, is a mental disease. True, a man has the power to overcome that. And sometimes its not a disease. I just want people to know that many times it isn’t something normal.

The amount of abusing Catholic priests is about 3%.Not the entire clergy. And do you know what the Protestant minister rate is? Just about the same. We just seem to get more media attention.

Please, just realize, that the church is also sick of this. We’re sick of being branded child rapers. We’re sick of the very few priests who taint the actual church.

This is not what the church is. This is not what we endorse. This is not who we are.

ETpro's avatar

@Maximillian The truth is that, while reporting to the police may be the policy now, that only came into being after the scandal blew wide open. Until it did, the policy was to simply transfer the offending priest to some other parish where the abuse almost always began all over again. I’m sorry, but the current reaction certainly appears more about protecting the church from loss of face and fortune than about protecting children.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The Irish orphanage scandal was an evil incomparable. To think that the Church would not release the names of the offending priests is inexcusable. Christian Catholics worldwide should storm the Church and set it right. It’s just so ugly.

Maximillian's avatar

It is ugly. Its disappointing, to say in the least. I don’t argue that we do try to help our priests. But we are also working just as hard, if not harder, to help the victimized.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You can affect helping a wayward priest when he’s behind bars. Let’s not forget that child abuse first and foremost is a crime. It is punishable by law. It is not for the clergy to decide between rehab/relocate and prosecution. That’s why the entire Church is getting a bad rap for it. Do it right, and there wouldn’t be such a problem.

It’s no different than banks trying to protect wayward bankers. It’s no different that corporations attempting to conceal executive crimes. When uncovered, the entire Banking industry looks bad. What do you expect when higher clergy attempts to rehab and conceal those who commit crimes? It doesn’t just make Catholics look deceptive. It makes all religious organizations look deceptive. Do it right, prosecute first, then rehab later.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It was Christ himself who proclaimed that he was “the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

If Catholics leaders cannot accept and abide by the Way of Truth, then they are not followers of Christ. They are Anti-Christ.

Maximillian's avatar

Pardon? We do accept that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I’m not sure why you say they don’t, and I’m not sure how this fits into this discussion.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If Catholic leaders are hiding the atrocity of abusive Priests, then they do not accept the Way of Truth.

Maximillian's avatar

We aren’t hiding anything! Have I not made myself clear? We try to help our priests become better, and we also try to help the victimized. But we aren’t trying to hide them.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes @Maximillian, you’ve made yourself clear. But your clarity is murky. Accusations of abuse do not come into the public light because Catholic leaders present them openly. Abuse is exposed when the victims report the event to law enforcement. That is why the Church (purported by you) now requires Bishops to report to police. This supposed current policy would never have developed if the previous policy of hiding/relocating would have succeeded.

I’m glad there is a new policy. If indeed what you say is actually true, then the Church will do well repairing its image in the eyes of the public.

Help the offending priests become better from inside their jail cells. But make no mistake, beyond helping the priests, beyond helping the victims, this issues is not one of helping people. This issues is one of hurting people, and not being completely transparent about the perpetrators. If it were not so, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.

So, in the good spirit of total transparency… Release the names and prosecute the vile criminals who abused the children in the Irish orphanages for 5 decades! Sorry, acknowledgment and apology alone just don’t seem to cut it.

Maximillian's avatar

I thank you for your appreciating we’re doing very hard to change our policies. Yes, sometimes (many times, actually) the priests do need to be in jail. Fact. But other times, they don’t.

Indeed, release the names. I’m sure, in fact, that they will arise. When? I’m not sure. Hopefully very soon. But policy changes, although good, and we’re working overtime on it, takes time. You can’t just make the switch. But yes, release the names.

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