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There is no argument that a sexual abuse problem and institutional incapacity to protect victims exists in the church. I've never argued otherwise.  What I object to is the unwillingness of writers such as yourself to do the the extra bit of work required to avoid making class associations -- coloring everyone in a group with the same ugly paint -- or else presenting the evidence that such an association is valid. I really don't understand your unwillingness to be sensitive to this point.

Would you take the same approach to a story that insinuated that being gay (or other despised minority) was somehow causally relevant to sexual crimes? If so, at least you're being consistent.

by santiago on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 04:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
santiago:
coloring everyone in a group with the same ugly paint

Where have I done this - beyond pointing out that the processes under which the Catholic Church investigated child abuse where based on binding victims to oaths of secrecy, ignoring civil authorities, and actively moving offenders around - thus assisting them in avoiding detection and apprehension by civil authorities.  

Given that these procedures were governed by the same code of Canon law and Vatican documents like Crimen sollicitationis, it is hardly surprising that the same patterns are evidenced worldwide.  All the Bishops who did this reported directly to Rome where their reports remain held in secret to this day despite the fact that they contain details of criminal behaviour on a vast scale.

How can you you expect such behaviours not to tarnish the institution that practised them on such a scale in Ireland and elsewhere?   Can you give me an example of any other organisation/religious institutions which did so on such a scale and which invokes diplomatic privilege whenever civil authorities seek details on individual cases?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 05:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You hadn't. At least not in explicitly in your piece, which is why I was surprised by your hostility to what I thought was a friendly comment.

But you didn't clarify that you weren't doing that either, and I think you should have because comments on your piece, like comments in general on this topic, were doing so, having gleaned that message from your diary, intended or not.  That's what hate narratives -- any narratives really -- do.  People take messages because of familiar stories they are already familiar with, unless clarified by the writer to focus on something else.

If you're making an argument that there are institutional reasons for the abuse within the church, and specifying them, that's something I have a lot more trust in, and I think it's a reasonable one.  There are arguments both ways on it of course -- mostly that such documents seem to actually encourage outing and getting rid of problem priests, not protecting them, even if secrecy is a part of them (secrecy is an important part of civil and criminal complaints too, as you cited earlier) so it would become a story of unintended consequences more than one of willful conspiracy if true, with different policy reforms needed.  But clarifying arguments like this go a long way toward separating writing that is critical of a social class from a poisonous narrative meant to silence that class and others.

by santiago on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 06:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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