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But I think it would be wrong to use the child abuse issue as just another stick to bash the Church with in support of a larger agenda.
It's not just another issue to bash the Church over the head with. However, my point was that it is also another issue to be used to bash the Church over the head with, and people don't get to cry foul when it's used as such.
Certainly in the context of this diary, the question is whether the Catholic Church is more culpable that other non-Catholic religious/secular organisations in terms of the incidence of child abuse.
santiago's objection seems to be that the Church is no more culpable than other organisations in similar positions of power - that is, if you have any reasonably tightly knit old boys' network that cuts across several layers of formal jurisdiction, you'd expect it to abuse its power.
That's a fair point, as far as the specific Irish issue goes - replacing the Church but not the institutional system of authoritarian childcare, incestuous (you should pardon the term) political old boys' clubs and assorted nepotism would probably not make the abuse go away. Forcing the Church to comply with civilised standards of childcare and breaking up the clubby relationships between judges, police officers, childcare professionals, politicians and pundits would probably solve the problem without necessarily requiring the Church to be removed from childcare functions. The Church may be politically opposed to such a reorganisation because it is politically in favour of authoritarianism, nepotism and legal impunity for its own membership. But that's not a particularly confessional issue - secular far-right extremists run on the same kind of platform.
There are other good reasons to want to remove the Church from childcare functions, such as secularism and freedom of and from religion (and the fact that the Church lends political support to authoritarian thuggery). But in the particular matter of child abuse the difference between a confessional organisation and a non-confessional organisation with a similarly authoritarian structure and power is likely to be slight.
Of course, the fact that it is hard to find a non-confessional organisation with the kind of power that the Catholic Church makes the question somewhat hypothetical. Your best bet would be to look among (other) transnational corporations. But they are less intimately involved with childcare, so the abuse you find there is likely to be of a different kind - allowing foremen to rape factory workers, murdering union organisers, employing slave labour, poisoning the local water supply, and so on and so forth.
Secondly, he seemed to argue that the way the Catholic Church covered up instances of abuse was no different to cover-ups elsewhere - and again I argued that the formalised, centralised and consistent nature of the policies applied - silencing of victims, transfer of offenders, non-cooperation with civil authorities what unique in scale, longevity, and consistency across many different jurisdictions.
I don't think that's the case among groups of similar power and organisation. (Other) transnational corporations play the same kind of legal shell games, with the difference being mostly that they don't whine quite as much when they get caught.
Fourthly, he argued, that it was all an anti-catholic conspiracy invented by political opponents in the same way as anti-Semitic mythologies were invented by Jew haters. You are in danger of playing into that narrative if you simply use the child abuse issue as another stick with which to beat the Church with regardless of the merits of the argument.
I understand your point about the rhetorical demerits of playing into that narrative, but on the factual merits of the case, it's bullshit to compare the Catholic Church with Jewish minorities. (Given the role of the Catholic Church in whipping up antisemitism, it's also rather tasteless, but that's politics for you.)
A more apt comparison in terms of power, political aspirations and organisational structure (and the degree of persecution complex and paranoia) would be comparing the Catholic Church to the Israeli military-industrial complex. We don't accept the propaganda that bashing Israel or the Israel Likud lobby is equivalent to antisemitism, and we shouldn't accept the propaganda that bashing the Catholic clergy is equivalent to fomenting hate against the Catholic laity.
So I'm not really into the blame game. I want the problem fixed and will oppose anyone who puts their interests above the best interests of children.
And on that specific issue, I will have to defer to your superior knowledge of the local conditions, which is why I don't really touch upon the specific Irish questions. I hope you'll keep educating me and the rest of ET on those matters. I assure you that I'm hearing your recommendations, and they sound intuitively reasonable. But I can't claim the necessary local knowledge to comment on them in more specific terms.
Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.
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