Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I honestly don't know how to respond to this.

So, I haven't really piled on the Catholic church over the whole pedophilia scandal. There are various reasons for this, but primarily I just find it distasteful to use something as serious as pedophilia to score points off of an institution that I don't, generally speaking, care for.* I like to think that for all of my faults, I am at least more dignified than Andrew Schlafly.** That being said, I have watched with no small degree of displeasure as individual incidents of child abuse have gradually started to build up into a pattern of institutional support for child molestation. Put differently, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the problem does not stem from a few bad apples but, rather, is facilitated by the institution of the church itself. And no, blaming the victims or comparing current inquiries to anti-semitism, or even blaming all the negative attention on the devil does not make it better. Yet, for all of that, the most recent development is the one that leaves me just dumbstruck:

A bill in Connecticut's legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state's Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure.

Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations.

The proposed change to the law would put "all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk," says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.


The "legislation would undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, threatening our parishes, our schools, and our Catholic Charities," the letter says.

The Catholic archdiocese of Hartford also published a pulpit announcement on its Web site, which was to be read during Mass on Sunday, urging parishioners to express opposition to the bill.

So, just to summarize- the Catholic church is opposed to legislation strengthening the ability of the state to prosecute child abuse. Just give yourself a moment to work through the cognitive dissonance generated by that one.*** And they claim that this is because such legislation would "...undermine the mission of the Catholic Church..." and place, "...Church institutions ... at risk". Now, I'm no lawyer, but this sounds to me like a fairly unfortunate move on the church's part. I'll concede that there are some very good reasons not to remove the statute of limitations, including a rationale given by the church that prosecuting cases 70 or more years old would be exceedingly difficult due to fading memories and lost records. But, that said, what do you even say when a religious institution claims that it can't do its traditional job if penalties for child abuse are made more severe? Is child abuse a religious rite now?

Just... wow.

* This has little to do with the Catholic Church specifically and rather stems from my general dislike for religious institutions.

** And given my usual comportment here on Total Drek, that statement can only be followed by the phrase, "Wicked burn!"

*** It's easier if you don't start with the belief that being religious necessarily makes you moral.

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