Catholics take the whole priest abuse thing very personally. There’s no mystery why they’re so offended when people mention it, but… just because they act offended doesn’t mean what is happening is any less atrocious. In case you are Catholic and you don’t see what the problem is, let me try to explain how the whole situation looks to someone who isn’t affected by cognitive dissonance.
It’s not about what percentage of priests are abusing people, or even that it happens at all. To be honest, I expect some people in every profession to do bad things from time to time. I expect some bankers and investors to rip people off from time to time. I expect some restaurants will have hairs, condoms and fingers turn up in their food occasionally. I expect teachers to sleep with students, police to beat minorities, pilots to fall asleep at the controls… not often, but I know for a fact it will happen at some frequency.
I don’t like that any abuse happens, and I believe that the most important thing is to catch a criminal and make them face justice, even though I also support leniency in punishment. Letting someone get away with it encourages repeat offenses and copy-cat crimes.
When I hear in the news that a priest molested a child, I don’t think, “Oh, those Catholic priests and their busy hands.” I don’t even think about it. What shocks and irritates me is that the Catholic church systematically hides abuse, shuffles priests around geographically, and hires lawyers to intimidate and discredit victims.
The game they’re playing isn’t, “Let’s traumatize people,” its, “We can’t let people find out we had priests who abused children.” The problem is, the cat’s out of the bag, prayer doesn’t cure pedophilia, and the empirical result of these tactics is the creation of additional victims.
But you know what? Intent means very little to me or most people. Intentions can’t unrape children. You know what could have prevented some of those abuses? Turning your pedophilic priests in to the authorities.
Honestly, I find the cover-ups to be worse than the crimes, and I’m not alone. It doesn’t matter what the scenario is, either. Companies have a faulty products, but they don’t warn people because it would hurt sales and it’s cheaper to handle the lawsuits when they happen. The government has shielded from justice police and armed forces who abuse their power and hurt innocent people.
Look, shit happens. When you run a huge operation, mistakes occur, and occasionally an individual employee does something batshit crazy. I don’t blame the organization for the crazy person, but I condemn anyone who would shelter a criminal, regardless of the inevitable and irrational backlash that will ensue.
A little school in Colorado named Columbine didn’t do anything to deserve being forever associated with a tragedy that occurred there, but can you imagine the outrage if it had all been swept under the rug? It’s almost impossible to imagine, but events more deadly than Columbine occur in Iraq and Afghanistan on nearly a daily basis. I can’t wait for the WikiLeaks documents to come out…
But I digress. I’m completely divorced from any previous prejudice I might have had for religion. I don’t look upon religion with disgust or anger; I just don’t want to be harassed. Most of the time I forget it’s there, and it’s only a problem a few times per year, kind of like herpes. And like herpes, religion isn’t going anywhere.
If we stop mindfucking each other, the sickness of religion might stop spreading… ugh, I’m such a philosophical prude. Okay, go out and commit cognitive coitus, but at least don’t psychologically screw your kids… that’s just wrong.