Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The myth of Catholic rape

According to Brenden O’Neill of spiked, the recent reporting of mass rapes of children in Ireland (and America) are rubbish. O’Neill is a secular humanist. He blames the spike in reporting on… wait for it… the New Atheist anti-pope lobby.

Were 10,000 children in America and thousands more in Ireland really raped by Catholic priests? In a word, no. Instead, what has happened is that in the increasingly caliginous, almost Inquisitorial mindset of sections of the New Atheist anti-pope lobby, every allegation of abuse against a Catholic priest … has been lumped together under the heading of ‘rape’, and every allegation has been described as an actual proven ‘rape’ regardless of whether it resulted in a legal trial, never mind a conviction.

While I can’t argue with O’Neill’s conclusion that rape is over reported. I will take exception to the severity of the abuse. I track the broader category of clergy sexual abuse, that is to say, anytime a priest does something of an illicit sexual nature with another person. The abuse is real, as are the cover-ups and protection of the church and priests. Is it larger than the general population? No, at least not that I can tell. But that is not what is important here. It’s the fact that the church acts to protect its own over the victims. The Catholics do it, and so do the little one-off churches in middle America.

To make my point, I plan to post every case I found in one day of digging. I’ll post them through out the day. There are lots.

And just to be clear – I don’t care about the pope or Catholics. I’m a live and let live atheist. I just want the clergy to live up to their billing. Is that to much to ask?