The RCC Hierarchy Playbook, Part I

While glancing at my WordPress.com dashboard I noticed that this will be my 200th post on this blog.   I am amazed I have stuck to it this long, although my posts have been less frequent as events in my personal life demand my attention.  For this post I am beginning a series on the Catholic playbook.  These are the strategies that the Church and its apologists use to downplay the sex crisis that continues to play out around the world.   I have been keeping notes over the last five years on reactions to media stories, blogs similar to mine and message boards.   There are too many to do in one sitting so I will try to do them in installments.  I think you can safely say that these strategies are employed by any organization that takes a risk management approach of covering up and denying instead of being proactive and forthright.   The RCC has been using these tactics for centuries.  (That’s right, this sex crisis is not the result of Vatican II as the very conservative zealots will have you believe).

Here is installment 1 of the RCC Hierarchy Playbook:

It is in use again.  The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) hierarchy is pulling out their playbook on how to spin their position on the myriad of crises in which the church is embroiled.  The good old boy network has been fostering corruption, scandal and criminal activity for centuries.  Why would it be any different in the 21st century.

In the wake of the conviction of Monsignor Lynn in Philadelphia, the hierarchy’s public relations goon squads are trying to minimize damage in the media, isolate other potential “crisis hotspots”, and brainwash “the faithful” that all is well and that the one holy catholic and apostolic church is on solid footing, just as St. Peter placed it.  You can keep coming to church and filling the collection plates.

The playbook is predictable and  predatory.   It can be broken down into several broad categories.  We start with: ( I shouldn’t have to say this but…  sarcasm runs amock in this post).  (If you are a Diocesan Spokesperson, try to keep up, I try use a lot of one syllable words, if you get confused you can use the google machine.)

Paint the Victim as a Predator

1. Victims are only looking for money!   Greed is one of the deadly sins.   The hierarchy of the church must have people believe that the victim of sexual crimes committed by priests, nuns or lay representatives are only out for a quick, large payday.   Gloss over the damage done by the predators who enjoy the top cover of the church while targeting victims for their own pleasure, that is not relevant!  Father “Fill in the Blank” is not called to account for his actions, crimes and deceptions.  No, we can’t have that.   Let’s go after the victim who has carried his/her great terrible secret of violation for years or decades.  We lurk in the shadows for years for the opportunity to litigate and force the church to pay for sins it did not commit.    The victim is the bad guy in his/her search for justice.

2. Victims will bankrupt us.  Ignore the palaces, art work,massive princely mansions, the expensive cars, summer retreat spots, first class flights to Italy and land used to hide pedophiles in Catholic minimum security facilities.   Ignore the vast resources of the Catholic Church worldwide.    Wealth that is beyond the comprehension of most mortals is not to be considered.   Cardinals and bishops have had the audacity to claim poverty in the face of claims that substantiate their complicity it protecting pedophiles in their attempt to protect the church from scandal.  Dioceses have attempted to use this tactic in court but have failed.   They will cry out that they have to close schools and parishes to pay for settlements and awards to victims of predators that they have shielded.  Funny, it would seem that the best way to avoid scandal is to not create one!   But I digress.  Has it ever occurred to anyone in the hierarchy of the church that predator priests, by their actions and in total disregard for the good of the church, continue to prey on children and vulnerable adults and open that organization to scrutiny, penalty and sanction?   Can I have a big “DUH” from the congregations?

3. Victims of sexual abuse are likely to be abuser as well.  Make me the new monster!  There is no proof of this, but the church and their apologists take this out for a spin on a regular basis.  Paint me as the new threat to children and vulnerable adults!   Once again the church needs you to suspend belief in the overwhelming evidence of institutional cover ups and re-victimization.  Never mind that priests, nuns and lay members of the church have abused their positions of power and were given refuge, financial support and the institutional blessing of the church while victims were ostracized and painted as monsters.    Urges, surely the victims have them and seek the same carnal pleasures that they were forced to comply with.   Really?!  Again, the church is lying to protect its treasure.  It relies on the blind stupidity of the parishioners who believe everything they are told.

AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE:

4. The Priest is only guilty of being seduced.  No kidding!  You would be amazed at the number of times this has been thrown at me by “Good Catholics” and  priests.  It was my fault that he raped me.  I tempted him, I led him down the path to this.  Let’s for a moment suspend belief in reality that sexual activity with a minor under the age of consent is, at a minimum, statutory rape.  Let’s for a moment suspend the logical notion that children who have not gone through puberty are generally not sexual creatures.  Let’s suspend belief that an adult man is unable to distinguish between right and wrong.   These acts, in my specific case, were not tender, passionate acts.  They were brutal, criminal acts that resulted in injuries to my person, my well-being, my psyche.  They stole my innocence, my faith, my trust and my ability to deal with the everyday world around me.   At age 13, I assure you, I did not seduce a priest.  He raped me, repeatedly.  They were acts of violence.  Acts of intimidation, dominance and depravity.  Anyone who can embrace the idea of a child seducing an adult in this manner has, in my opinion, a seriously flawed thought process.

The next installment will be: “There is nothing we can do about it”

If you want to add to the discussion, feel free to comment…

The Tip of the Pedophile Iceburg

Bishop Accountability lists 16 accused and/or convicted sexual predators in the Diocese of Scranton.  News articles that included interviews with Diocesan officials list as many as 9 more who’s names are being kept from the public.   If you look at the database for accused priests for Pennsylvania, the number listed is 192. Imagine the depth of the problem if they all had 5 victims, 10 victims, 15 victims. Do the math and be as sickened by this as I am.

From personal experience, I know that the list is not complete.  I had to work to get my perpetrator priest listed.   The Diocese of Scranton had known of his activities as early as the 1990’s, at least that is what they will admit to.  With the knowledge that he was dangerous, they kept his name quiet and sequestered him in a facility that caters to the housing of priests who probably should be in the state prison system.  How many other priests are they sheltering?  How many of those priests are in parishes or parochial schools right now with access to children?

I want to believe that the majority of priests serving in parishes are doing good work, that they are following a call to service.  But I also think that priests are choosing to not speak up and challenge a system that victimizes the most vulnerable of the church’s followers.  Not only children (of both sexes) are at risk but, vulnerable adults as well.  To do so would put them at odds with their bishops and would perhaps negatively affect their ability to be effective.  I also believe that there are priests that have made reports but those reports were kept quiet and no action was taken.  Those priests have an obligation to force the issue in whatever manner is necessary to protect children and force their diocese to do the right thing.   

There are priests that saw what was going on and made the conscious decision to not do the right thing.  They had knowledge, either first hand or from credible sources but have chosen to keep that information quiet.   Some of those men are now in positions of authority.  I am not sure how they sleep at night.  Imagine a Monsignor who as a young priest decided to take no action when he encountered another priest sexually abusing a child.  How can a man simply turn around and leave the room closing the door behind him?  The more I hear the stories from other victims, especially from those who have the same perpetrator as I, the more clear it all becomes to me.  These people have no shame, they have no honor and they have no right to call themselves men of god.  I know who you are, I know what you have concealed in order to get ahead.  Others do as well.  Remember that when you look out on the congregation on Sunday.  More and more of those eyes know the truth.

The Diocese of Scranton keeps it’s dirty little secrets by offering small settlements, stipends, or garnishment of the perp priest’s retirement check.  In order to garner such a settlement, it is their practice to have the victim sign a confidentiality statement, no doubt they want to keep the victim silent or to have them parrot that the settlement was completed amicably.  They are quick to point out that Statutes of Limitations have expired and that they have no obligation to help those who need help.  No obligation?  Seriously, how can they actually say that?

I have been told that Father Gibson is a sick man.  No kidding, you really think I haven’t known that for years!  They want me to feel sorry for him because he allegedly suffers from dementia.  Perhaps the gods are prepping him for his special place in hell.  I feel nothing for him, no sympathy, no compassion, no need for revenge.  My anger is solely reserved for those who knew what was happening and did nothing.  They are the true enablers of evil and they are hiding behind roman collars and the good intentions of parishioners who have chosen to remain blind.

The church is dying.  The pope recently lifted the ex-communications of priests who actively deny the holocaust and spout antisemetic statements as vile as any skinhead.  Gutsy move for a pope of German lineage!  I wonder if that apple did not fall far from the family tree.  The only way to save Catholicism from the fools that currently run the church in Rome and in Dioceses around the world is for the laity to take a more active role,  allow for the ordination of women and allow priests to marry.

How many more children and vulnerable adults will be sacrificed on the altar of religious power and influence before the laws of this country are modified to enable victims to have their day in court and to see justice done?  One more is too many.