Why aren't priests in jail?

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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby PLAYER57832 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:17 pm

thegreekdog wrote: (4) I wonder whether, if the US church was pressured enough, they would start requiring the abusive priests, as part of their worldly contrition, to admit guilt to the property civil authorities and serve time. I think it's a good idea, but I haven't heard any movement on it.

The problem with this is part of why we had the Reformation. The Roman Catholic church is by its very nature a hierarchy where the priests are above the parishoners, the Pope above it all. To admit such widespread guilt is, in many ways to challenge church authority and the means of appointing priests. US Roman Catholics don't always take this view as strongly now as in the past (though I will say around here there is a LOT of old-style Roman Catholicism), but it is still essentially deemed up to God and not individuals to punish the priests and church hierarchy.
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby stahrgazer on Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:34 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:
thegreekdog wrote: (4) I wonder whether, if the US church was pressured enough, they would start requiring the abusive priests, as part of their worldly contrition, to admit guilt to the property civil authorities and serve time. I think it's a good idea, but I haven't heard any movement on it.

The problem with this is part of why we had the Reformation. The Roman Catholic church is by its very nature a hierarchy where the priests are above the parishoners, the Pope above it all. To admit such widespread guilt is, in many ways to challenge church authority and the means of appointing priests. US Roman Catholics don't always take this view as strongly now as in the past (though I will say around here there is a LOT of old-style Roman Catholicism), but it is still essentially deemed up to God and not individuals to punish the priests and church hierarchy.


In addition, if these "admissions of guilt" were made during Confession, as they probably were, it would undermine that aspect of the church for the parishioners. Currently, a criminal can go to Confession and be absolved of the guilt without being forced by the priest to submit to city/state/federal authorities for prosecution; to be forgiven by God and, supposedly, to perpetrate that "sin no more." In the Church's viewpoint, being forgiven by God is much more important for the human soul than being punished by man; and if a criminal did fear that Confession would lead to Prosecution, the criminal may not confess at all, and thus, per church beliefs, possibly be damned to hell rather than allowed to come to the heavenly kingdom.
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:53 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:
thegreekdog wrote: (4) I wonder whether, if the US church was pressured enough, they would start requiring the abusive priests, as part of their worldly contrition, to admit guilt to the property civil authorities and serve time. I think it's a good idea, but I haven't heard any movement on it.

The problem with this is part of why we had the Reformation. The Roman Catholic church is by its very nature a hierarchy where the priests are above the parishoners, the Pope above it all. To admit such widespread guilt is, in many ways to challenge church authority and the means of appointing priests. US Roman Catholics don't always take this view as strongly now as in the past (though I will say around here there is a LOT of old-style Roman Catholicism), but it is still essentially deemed up to God and not individuals to punish the priests and church hierarchy.


That's not really true anymore actually. It is not "essentially deemed up to God and not individuals to punish." Given history, I suppose it is understandable that you think this, but it's really not how the modern US Church operates. To put it another way, I believe the US Church is protecting the priests because the US Church doesn't want any more lawsuits. So it's a financial interest, not a spiritual one.

The question I asked was not whether the US Church would permit priests to be prosecuted (which, not ironically since you do this thing all the time, is the question you answered). The question I asked was whether the US Church would cave to pressure from adherents to voluntarily give over any priests, regardless of externally-provided evidence, to stand trial. I think it's a good idea, both morally and politically. Others think that too. I don't think the Church is ready for that yet, but we'll see.
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby Funkyterrance on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:18 am

thegreekdog wrote:A few thoughts:

(1) I don't know the answer, but there may be a statute of limitations with respect to criminal prosecution of pedophilia.
(2) What stahrgazer said is correct - a lot of the admissions are hearsay and thus would be inadmissable.

Like I said, cuz lawyers. ;)
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby tzor on Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:20 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:The problem with this is part of why we had the Reformation. The Roman Catholic church is by its very nature a hierarchy where the priests are above the parishoners, the Pope above it all.


No, that is not why we had the reformation. A complete discussion of the complex nature of the church at the time of the reformation is not really worth the time or the effort. Part of the diving force (political) behind the reformation was the parallel complex hierarchies between the religious and civil structures. Basically, the whole order of kings and even knights was based on and depended on religious blessings. The reformation allowed the kings to take authority over the church leaders. But that, as they say was long ago. A result of the reformation, ironically, was a significant increase in clericalism in the Roman Catholic Church.

So as we get into the 20th century, the Bishop is the central unit of authority in the Roman Catholic Church. Bishops themselves form hierarchies of various sorts with the Pope the top of these hierarchy. Never the less, the ancient tradition that the local "Pastor" while appointed by the local bishop and serves the local bishop should be above "episcopal politics" continued in the 20th century; once appointed pastor, a priest could be transferred to a new parish but unless he retired could not be forced out of his role as pastor.

There is also the musical chair problem that also developed at the same time. Priests were routinely moved around from parish to parish; mostly to prevent them from getting to friendly with the local population. This allowed them to also move problems around the system as well; if you complained about Father Fred, he got moved somewhere else. By the end of the 20th century, priests were being forced out of old parishes where they were loved without any destination to go to. A local priest who originally came from India had to almost go back to India because not many parishes around the area could understand his Indian accent.

But then again, who really cares. This is a lot like the gun control issue, where people scream against "assault rifles" when in fact the majority of mass shootings are done by people with multiple pistols. The Roman Catholic Church has started to look into the pedophile problem seriously, and the ice water that was poured over the church impacted everyone. Every person who may even remotely be in contact with children are not required to take "VIRTUS" certification courses. And who is a pedophile? They are homosexual and heterosexual. They are male and female. They are single and they are married. In short, ANYONE CAN BE A POTENTIAL PEDOPHILE.
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby Symmetry on Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:39 pm

thegreekdog wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:
thegreekdog wrote: (4) I wonder whether, if the US church was pressured enough, they would start requiring the abusive priests, as part of their worldly contrition, to admit guilt to the property civil authorities and serve time. I think it's a good idea, but I haven't heard any movement on it.

The problem with this is part of why we had the Reformation. The Roman Catholic church is by its very nature a hierarchy where the priests are above the parishoners, the Pope above it all. To admit such widespread guilt is, in many ways to challenge church authority and the means of appointing priests. US Roman Catholics don't always take this view as strongly now as in the past (though I will say around here there is a LOT of old-style Roman Catholicism), but it is still essentially deemed up to God and not individuals to punish the priests and church hierarchy.


That's not really true anymore actually. It is not "essentially deemed up to God and not individuals to punish." Given history, I suppose it is understandable that you think this, but it's really not how the modern US Church operates. To put it another way, I believe the US Church is protecting the priests because the US Church doesn't want any more lawsuits. So it's a financial interest, not a spiritual one.

The question I asked was not whether the US Church would permit priests to be prosecuted (which, not ironically since you do this thing all the time, is the question you answered). The question I asked was whether the US Church would cave to pressure from adherents to voluntarily give over any priests, regardless of externally-provided evidence, to stand trial. I think it's a good idea, both morally and politically. Others think that too. I don't think the Church is ready for that yet, but we'll see.


I think the most influential Catholic countries are seeing a lot of public pressure on the church to reform. Player is right to point out the hierarchical problems in the church, just as you are to point out that the problem is more complex.

Ireland, for example, is currently dealing with the fallout from decades of slavery from the Magdalene Laundries- where church and state were complicit.

MacDermott Street Laundry — one of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries, or workhouses for girls — where she had toiled since 1967, six days a week, without pay. They were shocked by her appearance. “She was very disheveled and looked more than 20 years older than she was,” Ms. Long said. “She was 42, but we were looking at a pensioner’s face. It was hard work, poor nutrition and forced labor.”

Ms. Long was among those present in the Irish Parliament on Tuesday as the government made public a 1,000-page report that concluded that there was “significant state involvement” in the incarceration of thousands of women and girls in a system of slave labor that continued until 1996. And she and her sister were among those disappointed when the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, failed to issue an official and unambiguous apology for the state’s role.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/world/europe/seeking-redress-in-ireland-over-magdalene-laundry.html?_r=0
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby PLAYER57832 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:38 pm

thegreekdog wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:
thegreekdog wrote: (4) I wonder whether, if the US church was pressured enough, they would start requiring the abusive priests, as part of their worldly contrition, to admit guilt to the property civil authorities and serve time. I think it's a good idea, but I haven't heard any movement on it.

The problem with this is part of why we had the Reformation. The Roman Catholic church is by its very nature a hierarchy where the priests are above the parishoners, the Pope above it all. To admit such widespread guilt is, in many ways to challenge church authority and the means of appointing priests. US Roman Catholics don't always take this view as strongly now as in the past (though I will say around here there is a LOT of old-style Roman Catholicism), but it is still essentially deemed up to God and not individuals to punish the priests and church hierarchy.


That's not really true anymore actually. It is not "essentially deemed up to God and not individuals to punish." Given history, I suppose it is understandable that you think this, but it's really not how the modern US Church operates. To put it another way, I believe the US Church is protecting the priests because the US Church doesn't want any more lawsuits. So it's a financial interest, not a spiritual one.

The question I asked was not whether the US Church would permit priests to be prosecuted (which, not ironically since you do this thing all the time, is the question you answered). The question I asked was whether the US Church would cave to pressure from adherents to voluntarily give over any priests, regardless of externally-provided evidence, to stand trial. I think it's a good idea, both morally and politically. Others think that too. I don't think the Church is ready for that yet, but we'll see.

I think the key words you spoke were "the US church". Right now, part of the fight (which I am sure you are aware of) is how much control individuals should have, in a sense whether the US church is moving in the correct direction or needs to be "reigned in" by the Vatican. The move from Pope John Paul to the current Pope seemed to signal a reveral toward less tolerance, more conservativism, more central control. But, even how important that shift is taken varies within parishes and individual congregants. I get a very, very different take on Roman Catholicism when I talk to close Roman Catholic friends in CA and here in this small town of PA.. and reading what you, some other say.

That said, I also think that the modern practical church is having to step beyond, evaluate its past positions. However, it is a case where the law meets up against church beliefs and theology, so its not an easy task. Parishoners see the impact to their fellow parishoners, children in particular. The church is concerned with other things, including financial interests, but also theological implications.

I don't think you can minimize the impact of heirarchy and its importance within the Roman Catholic church in this. And, I do believe this type of issue is precisely why there is still a divisionn between Protestant and Roman Catholic Demoninations. For me, the idea of ever NOT putting a priest in jail is ludicrous. We send Pastors to jail for far less -- embezzlement and such, particular. We go over huge crisis when it comes to whether to keep a Pastor who has, say cheated on his wife (but not broken any secular laws). The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church IS why Priests were so long shielded...and that reliance upon strict hierarchy (along with some other off topic issues) is very much why Protestants object to Roman Catholicism in a personal religious sense. (that is we don't say you are not Christian.. most of us, anyway.. or that the church should not stand, etc.. its just we won't join).
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby thegreekdog on Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:32 pm

I've read all the articles on all this stuff, so I think that's virtually irrelevant. None of the priests from any of my parishes (twelve parishes in total) have been accused of anything. But I've seen firsthand how priests from parishes in the Philadelphia area have been treated and how the Archbishopric of Philadelphia has been viewed by parishoners. I think it's pretty clear, at least in my small area of Catholicism (and maybe in the US) that the parishoners won't hesitate to condemn and be publicly angry. I cannot speak for others, nor do I care to... especially Catholics in other countries.
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby PLAYER57832 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:04 pm

thegreekdog wrote:I've read all the articles on all this stuff, so I think that's virtually irrelevant. None of the priests from any of my parishes (twelve parishes in total) have been accused of anything. But I've seen firsthand how priests from parishes in the Philadelphia area have been treated and how the Archbishopric of Philadelphia has been viewed by parishoners. I think it's pretty clear, at least in my small area of Catholicism (and maybe in the US) that the parishoners won't hesitate to condemn and be publicly angry. I cannot speak for others, nor do I care to... especially Catholics in other countries.

I have not heard anything about Philadelphia, so that probably is not the best example. I do have friends and relatives in CA parishes, and there have been some other incidents nearer.

Are you saying that you don't think any priests have been accused? That you don't think the hierarchy had a stance of protecting the priests.. even to the extent of allowing activities to continue?

Now, one thing I will add is that we cannot just view these things with today's lense. Part of the problem was that pedophilia and related abhorrant actions were not seen in the same way in the past as now. I don't think anyone really know how hard it is for these people to reform (that rather got tied up with the Church's views of homosexuality and sexuality in general.. they wanted to believe ALL of it was just a choice and something a person should be able to control).
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Re: Why aren't priests in jail?

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:55 am

PLAYER57832 wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:I've read all the articles on all this stuff, so I think that's virtually irrelevant. None of the priests from any of my parishes (twelve parishes in total) have been accused of anything. But I've seen firsthand how priests from parishes in the Philadelphia area have been treated and how the Archbishopric of Philadelphia has been viewed by parishoners. I think it's pretty clear, at least in my small area of Catholicism (and maybe in the US) that the parishoners won't hesitate to condemn and be publicly angry. I cannot speak for others, nor do I care to... especially Catholics in other countries.

I have not heard anything about Philadelphia, so that probably is not the best example. I do have friends and relatives in CA parishes, and there have been some other incidents nearer.

Are you saying that you don't think any priests have been accused? That you don't think the hierarchy had a stance of protecting the priests.. even to the extent of allowing activities to continue?

Now, one thing I will add is that we cannot just view these things with today's lense. Part of the problem was that pedophilia and related abhorrant actions were not seen in the same way in the past as now. I don't think anyone really know how hard it is for these people to reform (that rather got tied up with the Church's views of homosexuality and sexuality in general.. they wanted to believe ALL of it was just a choice and something a person should be able to control).


That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that the public (the parishoners) have been loudly critical and angry with the church's protection of priests in the Philadelphia area who are accused of child abuse.
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