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Nice try, but of course that assumes that cover-ups never happen.

It's quite hard to prove wrong-doing when you own the judiciary and reliably claim that your unique status puts you above the law.

Unfortunately, sooner or later that unique status breaks down.

'Endemic' rape and abuse of Irish children in Catholic care, inquiry finds | World news | guardian.co.uk

Rape and sexual molestation were "endemic" in Irish Catholic church-run industrial schools and orphanages, a report revealed today.

The nine-year investigation found that Catholic priests and nuns for decades terrorised thousands of boys and girls in the Irish Republic, while government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rape and humiliation.

The high court judge Sean Ryan today unveiled the 2,600-page final report of Ireland's commission into child abuse, which drew on testimony from thousands of former inmates and officials from more than 250 church-run institutions. Police were called to the news conference amid angry scenes as victims were prevented from attending.

More than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families - a category that often included unmarried mothers - were sent to Ireland's austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last facilities shut in the 1990s.

How much more evidence do you need to accept that there's a problem?  

You're attempting to spin this as occasional one-offs mixed in with false accusations. The reality is that when abuse is investigated, it reliably reveals thousands of cases.

Of course abuse happens in other institutions - our treatment of asylum seekers in the UK is nothing to be proud of. But no one claims that the prison service here is any kind of moral authority.

The Catholic Church very much does claim to be a moral authority - in fact it claims to be the ultimate moral authority on this planet.

So when it turns out to be rather fond of doling out sadism and abuse to innocents, scepticism about its claim to the moral high ground becomes unavoidable.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 11:37:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<blockgroups>Nice try, but of course that assumes that cover-ups never happen.
</blockgroups>

I assume no such thing. In fact, I assume they do occur, as I've mentioned in my comments. But you can't make the assumption that cover-ups happen any more in Catholic institutions than in non-Catholic ones without providing evidence on non-Catholic cover-ups or the lack thereof first. And at least from what I can report on my own reading and conversations with professionals in the field -- child psychologists, social workers, and lawyers, for instance -- no one to date is convinced enough that it is a "Catholic problem" to even bother to research it systematically. Yet the narratives of folks like you say the opposite. It's enough that it happens at all to justify an involvement of criminal and civil justice, but that doesn't mean we can use such cases to support an overall institutional indictments of the Catholic Church, at least if avoiding participation in hate narratives is important to you.

We should hold the Catholic Church and other religious organizations to higher standards.  But, even with the sex abuse scandals, we have no reason to believe that the Church isn't still achieving higher standards than the rest of society.  In order to argue that it is not, you have to produce evidence on sex abuse in the society at large. Right now, we still have as much reason to believe that sex abuse, and cover-ups of sex abusers, still occur less frequently in church administered settings than in non-Catholic institutions as we have of believing the opposite.

by santiago on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 11:31:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely the null hypothesis should be that the inclination to abuse and coverups is no greater in the Catholic Church than outside it.

However, the ability to get away with coverups is massively greater, simply on account of the depth, opacity and financial and political power of the Church.

We are rightly more concerned about signs that point to a willingness in the armed forces to use violence for (domestic) political ends than we would be about signs pointing to a willingness in some religious minority to use violence for political ends. Similarly, signs of conspiracy to evade civil justice is more serious in a multi-billion € transnational corporation and political propaganda machine than in your local, independent orphanage.

The volume and magnitude of the criminal activity is also likely to be greater, simply because more effective coverups means that offenders can get away with greater enormities and get to repeat them more often before they are caught.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 08:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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