FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Hypocrites in the Catholic Church

On February 23, Patrick McSorley died in a Boston apartment at the age of 29. McSorley had been unable to kick the heroin addiction that killed him. “The memories of what had happened to him he had to battle continuously,” a friend described. “He would do almost anything to escape the pain.”

As a 12-year-old boy, McSorley went out for ice cream with Father John J. Geoghan, who offered the comfort and trust of a priest after the boy’s father committed suicide. Instead, Father Geoghan molested the boy in his car.

McSorley was just one of 85 victims of serial predator Father Geoghan, who was shuffled from parish to parish for two decades while Catholic Church leaders silenced his accusers. Geoghan was defrocked only after his arrest in 1998 for molesting a 10-year old boy.

McSorley came forward to tell his story two years ago and helped thousands of other victims to do the same, unearthing the web of conspiracy at the top of the Catholic hierarchy in covering up widespread child sexual abuse by priests. Ironically, last Friday–the same day McSorley’s young body was laid to rest in a Massachusetts cemetery–Catholic Church officials convened a press conference to bury the abuse scandal.

Bearing two long-awaited reports on sexual abuse, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, assured the world media, “The terrible history recorded here is history.” To be sure, the reports contain wrenching statistics, documenting the abuse committed by 4,392 priests against 10,667 children between 1950 and 2002:

–Priests in 95 percent of U.S. dioceses have been accused of abuse–among them, one of every 10 priests ordained in 1970.

–Most allegations of abuse were never reported to police by bishops–and 95 percent of the priests were never charged with a crime.

–Nearly 30 percent of the victims were abused for two to four years, while an additional 10 percent were abused for up to nine years.

–Just 149 priests–serial pedophiles–abused 2,960, or 27 percent, of the children.

But the two reports–both commissioned by and controlled by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops–are actually an attempt by the Church’s hierarchy to stave off attempts to drag it out of the Middle Ages.

Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, a member of the National Review Board of Catholic Lay People, which authored one report, was forced to resign after he compared the Church hierarchy’s methods of concealing sexual abuse to those of La Cosa Nostra. Not surprisingly, the National Review suggested better “fraternal review” among bishops–a gentle rebuke, considering the bishops were collectively responsible for covering up the scandal for decades. The other report, by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, relies exclusively on the questionable statistics provided by the bishops themselves.

Predictably, Church spokespeople aimed to steer the root cause of widespread pedophilia among priests away from obvious problems stemming from enforced celibacy among those ordained as religious authorities–pointing the finger instead toward homosexuality.

In reality, pedophilia has nothing to do with either straight or gay sexuality, but adult sexual oppression of a child. And celibacy for priests, like much of Catholic orthodoxy, originates not with devotion to the Almighty, but the Church’s quest for wealth and power.

Until the 11th and 12th centuries, Catholic priests were allowed to have multiple wives and mistresses, and leave their property to their children. First, the Church banned inheritance to the children of clergy, so the property could become the Church’s. Then it banned marriages and mistresses for priests, and in 1139, it voided all marriages of priests while ordering all new priests to divorce their wives.

The Catholic Church did not become one of the wealthiest and most powerful institutions in the world by following its own creed of human fellowship. Nothing could be more fitting than if the pedophilia scandal that exposed its hypocrisy so vividly were to bring its hierarchy down.

Then Patrick McSorley will not have fought–and died–in vain.

SHARON SMITH writes for the Socialist Worker.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail