It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal and Cover-Up Fully Exposed and Explained

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I dare anyone reading this article to PROVE to me, using real hard data, that sexual abuse and cover up is any higher, per capita, in the Catholic Church than in any other religion. Go ahead, I dare you...

WORCESTER, MA. A former pastor Andrew J. Bierkan, 54, at the First Congregational Church of Sutton who now heads a church in Ohio has been indicted here on charges of unnatural rape of a child and posing a child in a state of nudity. He is now pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, according to Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte. (Worcester Telegram & Gazette, August 13, 2003)
Ex-Sutton pastor charged with rape of girl from church

Eddie Thomas, pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church in Ringgold, LA., is arrested and charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile, aggravated incest and pornography involving a juvenile. (the Shreveport Times, July 17, 2003)
Police seize videotape alleged to show sex with child

South Austrailia, AUS. A South Australian police task force into child sex abuse within the Anglican Church had identified 217 victims and 48 possible offenders, police said today. However the number of victims could rise to more than 400 as investigations continued, Police Commissioner Mal Hyde said. Mr Hyde today likened the scale of police investigations into child sex abuse to those for the infamous Snowtown bodies-in-the-barrels murders in 1999. (The Age, July 16 2003)
Major sex abuse uncovered in Anglican Church

Lake Wales, FL. The pastor at the Church of the Nazarene has been charged with sexually assaulting a male 17-year-old youth leader three times in 2001. The Rev. Gene Francis, 52, of Lake Wales, was arrested Tuesday and charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 4, 2003)
Lake Wales minister arrested in sexual assault case

Tuscon, AZ. The Rev. David Valencia, 47, assistant pastor of a Pentecostal church is expected in court Wednesday on rape charges issued by Pennsylvania authorities. In Pennsylvania, Valencia was an assistant pastor at Christ Church at Grove Farm, an interdenominational church that uses Anglican liturgy. The pastor of Christ Church, the Rev. John Guest, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Valencia was dismissed in late 2001 because he was found to have pornography on an office computer after he was warned about a similar incident months earlier. (Tucson Citizen, May 31, 2003)
Rev. David Valencia allegedly had sex with a 17-year-old girl he was counseling

Now was that shocking? Yes. It should have been. Was it scandalous? Yes. It most certainly was. Was it Catholic? NO! Not a single story listed above, or in the link to hundreds of similar stories, involved the Catholic Church in any way. So what is the lesson to be learned from this? The lesson to be learned here is that shocking sex-abuse of minors is not exclusively a Catholic problem. Yes, there is a cover-up going on, and it has nothing to do with the Catholic Church...
(Telegraph) - Child abuse has gone unchecked in the Church of England for decades amid a cover up by bishops, secret papers have revealed.

Information that could have prevented abuse has been "lost or damaged", concerns about individuals have been ignored and allegations have not been recorded. It means that the Church has no idea how many paedophiles are in its midst.

Lawyers warned last night that the Church faces a crisis as catastrophic as the one that engulfed the Roman Catholic Church and cost it millions of pounds in damages.

Richard Scorer, a solicitor who has specialised in child abuse cases, said that the Church of England's mistakes amounted to "an appalling, shocking level of negligence" that is likely to leave it open to claims from victims who have been too afraid to speak out in the past. The Church is to launch an urgent investigation on an unprecedented scale.

It will look at the records of thousands of clergy – including those who have retired – church employees, lay workers and volunteers dating back decades in an attempt to expose those who have previously escaped prosecution and identify those who pose "current risks".

Dioceses will appoint independent reviewers with access to all of their personnel files. These are due to be examined over an 18-month period.

However, the internal Church documents – leaked to The Sunday Telegraph – show that even if churchwardens, who are lay officials, are found to have previous allegations against them, the Church has no power to suspend them...

read full story here
However, it's not just the Church of England. There are others, many others....
DALLAS (ABP) -- A recent sex scandal involving two North Texas pastors and the women who accused them of molestation is unusual because the victims -- by now beyond the statute of limitations for sex-abuse cases -- urged authorities and media to publish their names in conjunction with the case.

Typically, the names of sex-abuse victims are not publicized in an effort to spare the victim more emotional trauma. But Katherine Roush and Debbie Vasquez agreed to be identified in order to call attention to an increasingly prominent scathe of clergy sex-abuse cases in Baptist churches.

Larry Reynolds of Southmont Baptist Church in Denton, Texas, and Dale Amyx of Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas, were accused in separate civil lawsuits of molesting Roush and Vasquez, respectively, during counseling sessions when the girls were 14 years old. The abuse continued for several years, according to charges.

Had the women, now adults, reported the molestation at the time of the crime, each man could have faced first-degree felony charges. In juvenile cases, victims can report a crime until 10 years after their 18th birthday.

Instead of the possible life sentence that would have gone with his felony charge, Reynolds issued an apology at a church Thanksgiving banquet as part of a settlement agreement. His suit was settled out of court. Vasquez's lawsuit has yet to be resolved.

Sex-abuse charges like the ones in North Texas have become increasingly common, with cases in Missouri, Kentucky and Florida making regional and national news. And some experts have said Baptist churches may be particularly vulnerable to this kind of abuse.

Inappropriate behavior by clergy cuts across all denominational ties and theological positions, ethicist Joe Trull said. But he says a case can be made that "nondenominational churches and Baptist churches who have autonomous church government are more vulnerable and susceptible" to instances of sexual abuse....

read full story here
These are not just isolated cases mind you. There is ample evidence from non-biased third parties (particularly insurance companies who underwrite churches) that the problem of sexual abuse of minors and church cover-up spans all denominations and sects...
(Chicago Sun Times): The three companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in America say they typically receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by clergy, church staff, volunteers or congregation members.

The figures offer a glimpse into what has long been an extremely difficult phenomenon to pin down -- the frequency of sex abuse in Protestant congregations.

read full story here


(The Guardian) - The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

Nor did The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would "be more correct" to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males.

"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17."

The statement concluded: "As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it."

The Holy See launched its counter–attack after an international representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Keith Porteous Wood, accused it of covering up child abuse and being in breach of several articles under the Convention on the Rights of the Child...

read full story here
The statistics for Protestant sexual abuse of minors is actually a higher than what is found in the Catholic Church. A similar trend can be found in other non-Christian religions as well. Now please don't misunderstand. I'm not trying to attack our Protestant brethren on this issue. Sexual-abuse is no more their fault for being Protestant than it is the Catholic Church's fault for being Catholic. The problem is widespread, and in actuality, it has NOTHING to do with religion....
(CBS NEWS) - Any institution that has allowed children to be harmed by predators deserves to be taken to task for it. No institution should get a pass. And no profession should get a pass. Not preachers, not priests — not even teachers.

Especially not teachers. And yet …

Consider the statistics: In accordance with a requirement of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, in 2002 the Department of Education carried out a study of sexual abuse in the school system.

Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft looked into the problem, and the first thing that came to her mind when Education Week reported on the study were the daily headlines about the Catholic Church.

“[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem?” she said. “The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”

So, in order to better protect children, did media outlets start hounding the worse menace of the school systems, with headlines about a “Nationwide Teacher Molestation Cover-up” and by asking “Are Ed Schools Producing Pedophiles?”

No, they didn’t. That treatment was reserved for the Catholic Church, while the greater problem in the schools was ignored altogether.

As the National Catholic Register’s reporter Wayne Laugesen points out, the federal report said 422,000 California public-school students would be victims before graduation — a number that dwarfs the state’s entire Catholic-school enrollment of 143,000.

Yet, during the first half of 2002, the 61 largest newspapers in California ran nearly 2,000 stories about sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, mostly concerning past allegations. During the same period, those newspapers ran four stories about the federal government’s discovery of the much larger — and ongoing — abuse scandal in public schools....

read full story here
Yes indeed! There is a cover-up going on, and the one I'm talking about is not in the Catholic Church, nor in the Protestant churches, nor even in the public schools which have an exponentially high level of sex-abuse. No, this cover-up is in the mainstream news media.

That's right! The mainstream news media is INTENTIONALLY covering up the actual statistics of sexual abuse in society and secular institutions. This is yet another reason why the mainstream media is no longer trusted by the general public. This is yet another reason why more and more people are getting their news and information off Internet blogs (like this one), independent news sources and talk radio. More and more the mainstream news media both in North America and Europe are demonstrating not only their complete incompetence in handling the news, but also an inherent anti-religious bias in the way they report it. Of course here in the United States we've known this for a long time. Only now are Europeans just starting to figure it out. Since the mainstream news media simply REFUSES to do their job on this topic, it looks like 'The Catholic Knight' blog will once again have to do it for them...
The Catholic Church has ALWAYS taught that sexual abuse of minors is a damnable sin, of the worst kind, in which Jesus Christ himself said it would be better for someone who does this to tie a millstone around his neck and be thrown into the deepest part of the sea. Catholics involved in sexual abuse have not only failed in morality, but they have also failed in Catholicism, in that they are not practicing the Catholic Christian faith at all.

The total number of all priests accused of sexual abuse of minors is less than 5% of all Catholic clergy. That means more than 95% of Catholic clergy have never been accused and are doing their jobs correctly, living quiet and holy lives in service to their parishes.

In spite of what people say about clerical celibacy being a "cause" of these problems, actual statistics indicate that the majority of sex-abuse of minors is perpetrated by married men; step-fathers, uncles, cousins and live-in boyfriends. Statistically speaking, being a celibate man in the Catholic priesthood actually REDUCES your odds of sexually abusing minors. That's just a matter of statistical FACT. (learn more here)

In the overwhelming vast majority of cases (more than 80%), the alleged victim was a male between the ages of 11 and 17. Victims younger than 11 were almost never reported, and sexual abuse of females was also rare. This is not the clinical definition of pedophilia. It is however a type of predatory homosexuality that seeks to take advantage of underage young men. Therefore the term "pedophile priests" is a misnomer and not based on hard statistical data. A more accurate term should be "predatory homosexual priests."

Homosexual men are not allowed to become priests in the Catholic Church. In order for a homosexual to become a priest he must lie about his homosexuality just to get into seminary and remain "in the closet" indefinitely. If he is ever discovered to be gay, he would be fired and laicized (defrocked).

Sexual abuse of minors is slightly higher in Protestant churches according to data released by insurance agencies that underwrite them.

Sexual abuse of minors is significantly higher in non-religious institutions that deal with children, particularly public schools, where according to a U.S. government report, a child is literally over 100 times more likely to be molested in a public school than in a Catholic church. (learn more here)

The reforms implemented in the US Catholic Church after the sex-abuse scandal of 2002-2003 have been hailed by child protective services as the most comprehensive ever seen in a public institution and have been cited as a model for other institutions to follow.

No other person in the Vatican has done more to defrock abusive priests and curb sexual abuse in general than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI). He was a hawk on clerical discipline and hunting down predators. When he became pope he instituted a zero tolerance policy not only against abusive clerics but against homosexual priests in general. So it's ironic that this pope would find himself under media scrutiny for this reason.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was appointed Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981, three years after John Paul II's election to the papacy in 1978. As you can see by the graph above, sexual allegations against priests had reached it's highest point the year Ratzinger was appointed. It had never been any higher, with nearly 9 out of every 1,000 priests being accused (almost 1%). Ratzinger went into action and quickly earned the nickname "God's Rottweiler" for his tough approach against all forms of ecclesiastical misconduct - most especially sexual abuse by clerics. Within twenty years, Ratzinger was able to reduce sex abuse allegations to a pre-1950's level with less than 1 out of every 1,000 priests being accused (less than 0.1%). This is especially remarkable when we consider that during the same time period sexual abuse of minors was on the rise in European and North American society in general. Ratzinger was able to implement this massive reform with a zero tolerance policy for homosexuality in the priesthood and by defrocking priests himself when he was canonically capable of doing so. However, Ratzinger did have limitations imposed on him while he was Prefect for the Congregation, and he was not allowed to implement all of the reforms he desired. After becoming pope in 2005, Ratzinger was able to write many of his reforms into Church law and remove many of the obstacles he encountered during his tenure as Prefect to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Now careful examination of the graph above reveals that sexual allegations against priests started to rise dramatically in the middle 1950's through 1981 (the year of Ratzinger's appointment). Who were the popes during those time periods? That would be Pope Pius XII, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I (who reigned for less than a month). Pope John Paul II reigned only during the last three years of this time period before the numbers began to drop. So logically, which pontiffs should receive the most scrutiny? That would be Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI. The most dramatic rise came under the papacies of John XXIII and Paul VI. Why does the media not go after them? What was happening during their pontificates that might explain their lack of action and failure to deal with the problem?
These are the facts. This is the REAL NEWS, not that nonsense you see on the television or read in the newspapers. Sadly there really is a cover-up going on here, and it's a cover-up of statistical facts. What we have in the European media today is a deliberate attempt to hide the facts and smear the reputation of the Catholic Church, particularly the pope if they can get to him.

Why is this? Well, part of it has to do with the nature of the media itself. There are two sayings in the news business.

Saying # 1 "If it bleeds it leads."
Meaning if the story involves gross violence, mayhem or some kind of sadistic abuse, it will almost always find itself on the front page of the newspaper, as well as the leading story in almost every news broadcast. If it's not actually the first story, then it will be very close to the first story. This is because violence, mayhem and abuse sells newspapers and gets people to watch news broadcasts. What the news media is doing is capitalizing on strange aspect of human nature that deals with morbid curiosity. There is some kind of strange subconscious characteristic in human beings that likes to see blood, gore and torture. I don't know why that is, but it is, and the mainstream news media has learned how to take advantage of it for marketing purposes.

Saying # 2 "Sex sells"
This isn't just a news media term, it's a universal term for all advertising and marketing. People are naturally attracted toward sexual stories and topics. That's why so many end table magazines are filled with articles about sex. That's why commercials and advertisements usually feature a scantily clad young attractive woman, or a handsome and physically fit shirtless man. It works! It gets people to look, and it gets them to buy. In the newspaper and television news business this kind of advertisement is a little more tricky. They can't just market sex for sex's sake. They have to package it in a story, and quite often this involves some kind of tawdry sex scandal. So when any kind of news comes out about a religious sex scandal you would think the media would be all over it, and indeed they are, but in this case they do it in a very disproportionate way.

Outside of the normal violent and sexual nature of the mainstream news media there is another component to this whole thing. BIAS! Yes, that's right, and in this case it's a particular anti-Catholic bias that is generated by a deep seated anti-Catholic prejudice or form of bigotry. This comes from newspaper editors, reporters, as well as television newsroom producers. Most of them are secular atheists or agnostics. Some of them are liberal Protestants and even a few are liberal Catholics who have an ax to grind against the generally conservative policies of the Catholic Church. This is the ONLY realistic explanation for the disproportionate media attention on the Catholic Church, when it is a statistical fact that Protestant churches have a slightly higher incidence of sexual abuse of minors and cover-up. This is the ONLY realistic explanation for the disproportionate media attention on the Catholic Church, when it is a statistical fact that non-religious institutions (such a public schools) have a sexual abuse rate of minors that is literally over 100 times higher than any religious institution, including the Catholic Church. One would think there would be at least 100 time more media coverage on sexual abuse in public schools. That is not the case at all. Instead the Catholic Church gets virtually ALL the negative media attention, while hardly a single news story can be found on the overwhelming sexual abuse going on in public schools. Curious? No. BIAS! Perhaps even bigotry! (Just calling it like I see it folks.)

Is there a cover-up going on here? YOU BET THERE IS! It's in the mainstream news media, which actively seeks to tear down the Catholic Church at every opportunity possible, and simultaneously seeks to protect a much higher number of abusers in non-religious institutions, by hiding the data related to them, and refusing to cover their sex-abuse stories with even one-hundredth of the media attention. So the question everybody should be asking is this. WHY is the mainstream news media seeking to PROTECT child sex abusers by hiding the statistics of where they do the most damage?