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Monday, April 12, 2010

Dawkins Is Losing It

"Anti-Catholicism is the anti-semitism of the intellectual" writes Pat Buchanan in a recent article in which he quotes the writer Peter Viereck. In light of all this, now self-appointed atheist spokesman Richard Dawkins (along with Christopher Hitchins) is ranting calling for the arrest of Pope Benedict the XVI when he arrives in Britian later this year on an official state visit..

"Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said: “This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment."

First, a few points need to be made clear here...

#1. "According to a survey by the Washington Post, over the last four decades, less than 1.5 percent of the estimated 60,000 or more men who have served in the Catholic clergy have been accused of child sexual abuse.

#2. According to a survey by the New York Times, 1.8 percent of all priests ordained from 1950 to 2001 have been accused of child sexual abuse.

#3. Thomas Kane, author of Priests are People Too, estimates that between 1 and 1.5 percent of priests have had charges made against them.

#4. Of contemporary priests, the Associated Press found that approximately two-thirds of 1 percent of priests have charges pending against them.

For comparison, let's examine incidence of such abusive behavior by Catholic priests with other professions...

Protestant clergy- Penn State professor Phillip Jenkins has determined that between 2 and 3% of Protestant clergy are pedophiles while his same study indicates that between .2 and 1.7% of Catholic priests are.

Teachers- Charol Shakeshaft (PhD) and Audrey Cohan in their study have determined that "up to 5 percent of teachers sexually abuse children."

Psychologists- Another position of trust. Studies indicate that "Between 3 and 12 percent of psychologists have had sexual contact with their clients. While today virtually every state considers sexual contact with a client as worthy of revoking a psychologist’s license, as recently as 1987 only 31 percent of state licensing boards considered sexual relations between a psychologist and his or her patient grounds for license revocation. What makes this statistic so interesting is that many bishops in the 1980s took the advice of psychologists in handling molesting priests." Link to above statistics

There is a tendency by people to react emotionally upon hearing of a report of abuse by a member of the clergy. An initial reaction as such is understandable for two reasons. First, there is the initial revulsion and reaction to a crime as heinous as pedophilia which in and of itself, can almost stifle conversation on the subject being that it is such an emotionally charged, horrible and almost unthinkable crime. Secondly, members of clergy are often held in high regard and afforded more trust than average persons. When that trust is betrayed, it is doublely devastating.

Abuse of this type is a societal problem, not anything that is particular to the church, rampant in the church, or something that the church is immune from. The Vatican has instituted a zero tolerance program over the last 10 years. Let's hope that it works and that Pope Benedict is successful in rooting out what he calls the "filth" that is in the church.

Pat Buchanan in his above cited article brings up the almost taboo-like possibility as to why there have been a couple of stories in the media recently concerning abuse within the Catholic church.

"the Times’ Richard Berke blurted to the Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association 10 years ago, often, “three-quarters of the people deciding what’s on the front page are not-so-closeted homosexuals.”

Is there perhaps a conflict of interest at The New York Times, when covering a traditionalist Catholic pope?"

It makes one wonder.


The Catholic Apologist said...

Hi JC,

Don't confuse people with the facts.

Dawkins wants the pope arrested in Brittan? If the Brits are going to arrest anyone it should be Dawkins. His crime? Being Richard Dawkins.

I wonder if the pope will call off his trip. If the territory is that hostile, I would not want to have to push the Swiss Guard to their limits. How would it look if the Swiss Guard have to open fire on people? The media be far worse then getting thrown in a pool wearing a suit of meat soaked in blood with Great White Sharks, and a pack of Wolves.

ATVLC said...

It's not just the abuse, it's the cover-ups that allowed the abuse to continue.

ATVLC said...

Comment #478580 by Richard Dawkins on April 11, 2010 at 8:48 am.
Needless to say, I did NOT say "I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI" or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself.

What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope's proposed visit to Britain. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horne, other than to refer him to my 'Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope' article here: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5341

JD Curtis said...


If you know of an accurate link to what Robertson and Stephens actually want to do and that Dawkins supports, please post it here and I'll check it out.

ATVLC said...


(Read the article not just the headline)

He challenges the "notion that statehood can be created by another country's unilateral declaration" with regards to the Pope's supposed status as a head of state.

The Catholic Apologist said...


No one, least of all myself is saying the Church was right in covering up abuse. No one, least of all myself is trying to excuse the negligence of the Church.

The Church was negligent, the Church dropped the ball. The Church should have done more and din't. Everyone understands this, and everyone knows this.

It almost seems to me is that the media is looking for the silver bullet, and if they can't find it, they are going to manufacture it. The media is salavating at the oppertunity to take down Pope Benedict VI. That is what this is about. And it is this which I have a problem with.

Check out my latest article on my blog about the media and what they are not reporting and what they don't want you to know.

JD Curtis said...


It seems that Robertson does want the pope arrested. The only difference here is that he wants the international community to do it rathe than just the British authorities.

TCA, check this out (re: Irish abuse scandal)...

"There was a determined resolve among the bishops to deny any meaningful catechesis to the young. That is the generation, wholly ignorant of the faith, that in Ireland achieved material prosperity in the “Celtic Tiger” economy. Initially it still attended Mass (or what passed for Mass) out of social conformity. Then the sex abuse scandal gave Irish post-Vatican II agnostics the perfect pretext for apostasy: tens of thousands who had never been abused, nor met anybody who had, found an excuse to stay in bed on Sunday mornings.

The abusive priests are not the only hypocrites. “I am so shocked by the abuse scandal I am leaving the Church.” Right. So, the fact that some degenerates who should never have been ordained violated young people – in itself a deplorable sin – means that the Son of God did not come down to earth, redeem mankind on the cross and found the Church? This appalling scandal no more compromises the truths of the Faith than the career of Alexander VI or any other corrupt Renaissance Pope.

Should bishops be forced to resign? Oh yes – approximately 95 per cent of them worldwide. These clowns in their pseudo-ethnic mitres and polyester vestments with faux-na├»ve Christian symbols, spouting their ecumaniac episcobabble, have presided over more than sexual abuse: they have all but extinguished the Catholic faith with their modernist fatuities. They should be retired to monasteries to spend their remaining years considering how to account to their Maker for a failed stewardship that has lost countless millions of souls.

Benedict XVI should take advantage of a popular wave of revulsion against the failed episcopate to sack every 1960s flared-trousered hippy who is obstructing Summorum Pontificum. It is a unique opportunity to cull the hireling shepherds and clear away the dead wood of the Second Vatican Catastrophe. It is time to stop the apologies and reinstate apologetics; to rebuild all that has been destroyed in the past 40 years; to square up to liberals and secularists as so many generations of Catholics did in the past; to proclaim again the immutable truths of the One True Church that, in the glory of the Resurrection, can have no legitimate posture other than triumphalism." Link

SmartLX said...

How many pedophiles does it take, JD, before it becomes wrong?

1.5% of 60,000 clergy is 900 clergy. The Church (and, we now know, the Pope himself) has helped hide, protect and enable almost a thousand pedophiles, the known victims of some of which number in the hundreds, and that's just the pedophiles we know about. The organisation and the man will admit no actionable accountability for any of it. That they don't tolerate it now (if true) is irrelevant. A murderer who gives up killing is still guilty.

Well, they deserve some to be held accountable. So do Protestant pedophile clergy, so do teacher rapists, so do psychologist rapists. The point is that the Church is not special in this regard.

What is special about the Catholic Church is the revealed institutionalisation of the defense of pedophiles, which you wouldn't find to such an extent in the American Psychological Association for example. What's special about the Pope is his signature on a letter urging that an active pedophile be kept right where he is.

A full-blown legal campaign such as that proposed by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens is the only way to get any accountability past the Vatican's diplomatic defenses. So they're doing it.

JD Curtis said...

1 pedophile is one too much LX. I think you would agree with me on that.

What is special about the Catholic Church is the revealed institutionalisation of the defense of pedophiles, which you wouldn't find to such an extent in the American Psychological Association for example. What's special about the Pope is his signature on a letter urging that an active pedophile be kept right where he is.

I think that the Catholic Apologist addressed this. If it hasnt ben addressed to your satisfaction, let me know nad we'll discuss it. Link

SmartLX said...

You don't need to tell me JD, I've got enough confidence in the human race in general that my question was rhetorical.

I see you've now responded to the comment by the woman in the link whose LA Times excerpt shows that Kiesle went home to youth-minister again between 1985 and 1987, while waiting for the hammer to fall. There were no offences discovered during that time but youths around Kiesle were, at best, at risk in the care of a known child abuser.

If Ratzinger had pushed through the laicisation in 1985, that wouldn't have happened. Others also had the power to stop Kiesle from ministering, but they didn't act either, so minister he did. To kids.

I wouldn't have expected Ratzinger to send Kiesle straight to prison even if he did have the power, merely to hasten as much as possible the day when Kiesle was no longer a priest and couldn't take advantage of the implicit trust of local families which comes (well, came) with that position. Heck, Kiesle wanted him to. Ratzinger didn't even do that.

JD Curtis said...

If Ratzinger had pushed through the laicisation in 1985, that wouldn't have happened. Others also had the power to stop Kiesle from ministering, but they didn't act either, so minister he did. To kids.

It's my understanding that the bishop of the diocese had the authority to remove the guy from any duties that might have been questionable and they didnt have to wait for the Vatican for a response. Ratzinger at the time was only weighing a request for laicisation.

"A couple of key points:

1. What we're dealing with here is a petition by the priest for dispensation from the obligation of the clerical state, including celibacy. This is not a situation where the local diocese is asking for the canonical penalty of dismissal from the clerical state, which would require Church court proceedings that the diocese is obliged to start..

2. That distinction is important because the process for handling petitions and penalties is vastly different — and therefore, it dictates a whole different reading of the Vatican's response. After the granting of thousands of petitions for dispensation from the clerical state in the 1960s and 1970s, the Vatican, under the leadership of Pope John Paul II, saw this as a scandal that needed to be addressed (as Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio points out). So the Vatican made the process more difficult and lengthy, with the result that granting of dispensations slowed to a trickle.

3. The Diocese of Oakland had every means at its disposal to contain the threat of Kiesle to children — but apparently did a very poor job of using them.

The Diocese of Oakland could have stripped Kiesle of his faculties and removed him from all ministry. But one of the documents shows the outrage of the diocesan director of youth ministry that Kiesle was still participating in parish youth ministry events, apparently even after the bishop and other diocesan officials had been notified.

The point is: Granting Kiesle's petition to be dispensed from the clerical state would have had no practical effect in containing the danger that he posed to youth. In fact, not doing so allowed the diocese to keeper tighter control over Kiesle's activities — and it looks like they fumbled.
Link with other supporting links

"Update: A Vatican lawyer says it looks like Cardinal Ratzinger's letter appears to be a form letter used by the congregation in its first response to petitions for dismissal from the clerical state."

The Catholic Apologist said...

Essencially what needs to be kept in mind is that full authority and responsibility rests with the Diocesean Bishop. If a Diocesean Bishop feels that a priest is not suited for ministry he has the full authority to remove said priest from ministry without waiting for approval from Rome.

Consequently, then Cardinal Ratzinger could not have covered anything up if he wanted to. No bishop needed his approval to involve the secular authorities, or to remove a priest from ministry. His authority would have been needed for laicization cases- but regardless of how long that process took, it would not impact whether or not the priest in question would serve or not serve in public ministry, nor would it effect whether the bishop can turn him over to the secular authorities.

The media is also conviently not reporting the fact that it was then Cardinal Ratzinger who worked to streamline the laicization process for priests who are known abusers, thus placing even more authority in the hands of the Diocesean Bishop.

Long live Pope Benedict!

Glen20 said...

Where's the law?
All these people knew, all these people worked towards covering up the sexual abuse of children, all these people make excuse after excuse...
And all because of magical thinking no one went to the law.

feeno said...


Thanks for the stats. Those are good to know. I like the 1.8% stat. Does anyone know what is for school teachers?

Peace, feeno

And yes LX, 1.8% is 1.8% to many. Late, feeno

SmartLX said...

Thank you JD and TCA (I normally talk to another TCA).

I do understand that the bishop of the Diocese had the power to act independently of the Vatican, but the Vatican had the power to act independently of the bishop too. Since the defrocking request came from the priest himself, and the bishop couldn't grant it, it was in this way a matter directly between the priest and the Vatican.

I don't agree with your quote that "Granting Kiesle's petition to be dispensed from the clerical state would have had no practical effect in containing the danger that he posed to youth," for a reason I've given above. Ending his priesthood wouldn't have magically kept him from the local children, nor did it when it was eventually done, but it would have removed the kids' reason to trust him, or treat him as anything more than an adult stranger.

This is how the position itself is useful to pedophiles, even without a church or a confessional: it invites and even demands trust. That's what Ratzinger could have ended, and didn't. Instead he sent a form letter.

Linda Monk said...

The BISHOP could not remove the priesthood from the said abuser, until Rome acted on it. HOW MANY TIMES DID THEY HAVE TO ASK ?
The while waiting, the abuser is serving as a YOUTH MINISTER in a Catholic Parish ...Why not just give him a license to teach at a school too and be a Kindergarten monitor at the same time.
Apologist and JD are wrong. !00 % not informed and wrong. For the record ...Pat Buchanan ? When did he become involved in child sexual abuse ? Oh I forgot, he is not Catholic !

Face it .. NONE of us would trust our children to someone as ANY position of authority who is ...."waiting" to be defrocked while the guys in Rome ....Hmmmmmmm .... think about it !
Once again, the larger Catholic Church Organizational procedures FAILED the PEOPLE ! Failed to protect Children ! Ratzinger Failed to act swiftly.

Linda Monk said...

Once again....here it is ......

From The Los Angeles Times
April 11, 2010
""""""""""Those colleagues, who helped make the case to the Vatican in 1981 seeking to let him leave the priesthood, said they were concerned before Kiesle was ordained, and more so after revelations Kiesle had molested children in his parish.
He was not grown up. He spent more time with kids than with people his own age. You get suspicious of that. There's something wrong there," said John Cummins, former bishop in the Diocese of Oakland, now retired.

Still, future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas from the diocese to act on the case, according to a 1985 letter in Latin obtained by The Associated Press that bore his signature as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

It would take another two years before the Vatican doctrine watchdog office headed by Ratzinger would approve Kiesle's own request to leave the priesthood in 1987.

Vatican attorney Jeffrey Lena said the matter proceeded "expeditiously, not by modern standards, but by those standards at the time."""

"""""California church officials wrote to Ratzinger at least three times to check on the status of Kiesle's case and Cummins discussed the case with officials during a Vatican visit, according to correspondence obtained by AP. At one point, a Vatican official wrote to say the file may have been lost and suggested resubmitting materials.

As Kiesle's fate was being weighed in Rome, the priest returned to suburban Pinole to volunteer as a youth minister at St. Joseph Church. He was eventually defrocked in 1987.""""

SURE Apologist let someone remain working with the YOUTH while a man in Rome "thinks about it".

The media did NOT leave any facts uncovered or off the list in the LA TIMES story. Perhaps you read some other news propaganda. I sure am glad I got the facts to you !

How long should our innocent children wait ?

SmartLX said...

Ah, Linda's followed you two back here.

The Catholic Apologist said...


Aparently she did, but at least JC has one more reader now.

Linda, I am not wrong. Can a bishop remove a priest from active ministry independant of the Vatican? Yes or no? I submit the answer is YES.

JD Curtis said...


- August 1978: Kiesle is arrested and pleads no contest to lewd conduct, a misdemeanor, for tying up and molesting two boys. Sentenced to three years probation, record is later expunged.

- 1978-1981: Takes extended leave of absence, attends counseling and reports regularly to probation officer.

- July 1981: Oakland Bishop John Cummins sends Kiesle's file to the Vatican in support of the priest's petition for laicization.

Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/09/1867364/timeline-of-defrocked-priest-stephen.html#ixzz0l5fkBRWy

Why didnt the local bishop take charge of the situation and ban the guy from working with children?

Who the heck in their right mind would sentence a man to 3 years probation for tying up and sexually assaulting two boys?

SmartLX said...

Nobody said Ratzinger was the only one in the wrong, JD.

Hang on a minute, the priest petitioned four years before Ratzinger even sent a form letter telling the bishop to think hard about it? Never mind the content of the letter, its timing speaks volumes about the whole system.

TCA, a bishop can remove a priest from active ministry, apparently, but when he doesn't do that? If the priest is defrocked by the higher-ups, the bishop can't keep the guy in active ministry. The priest went over the bishop's head hoping exactly this would happen. It didn't, and he was delivered back into temptation.

JD Curtis said...

Insofar as "timing" LX, the bishop could have sent a letter concerning laicization in 1978, as soon as Keisle was convicted. (Or even started the process earlier than that) instead of 1981. Go figure.

Linda Monk said...

"A Bishop can remove a Priest from active ministry" ...
A Bishop can not control EVERY position of employment or volunteerism around CHILDREN or potential victims to any crimes within a diocese or county, let alone State.

Reporting laws have changed twice since this incident (church reporting laws - so yours is an incorrect conclusion Apologist). Again, read the policies and procedures of the organization.

Apologist and JD,
If you are sooooooo comfortable with this guy and the way the "timeline" - lame lame lame - was allegedly followed, fine, let your kids and grandchildren be around these person(s).

As for me and my house, we will serve Our Most Precious Lord, and we will report crime(s) in a timely efficient manner, to local law enforcement agencies, diocese offices, watch dog neighborhood grass roots efforts, the PTA, LULAC, and the post office if needed ! And, since I live in Texas, the NRA too !

You two fellas are giving a twisted "timeline" from the mid 70's through 2002.

Exactly, How long would it take you to stop someone from abusing your child ? or your neighbors child ?
Take it from someone who has risked their own safety in reporting abuse, there is NOTHING more sacred than the love that Our Lord has for Children !

Therefore, everyone was wrong in this situation. The abuser, the Bishop, Rome Vatican Big Wigs, witnesses for non reporting to law enforcement, future employee site or volunteer site.

You gentlemen, have been officially "fired", "pink slipped" , "let go" for Failure to abide by the law ! End of story.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
Shame, Shame, Shame - Oh God, It's what what's his name said ? That Gomer marine guy ?

JD Curtis said...


I think you are confusing some sort of implied endorsement of said abusive behavior with examining the situation in context.

Certainly, mistakes were made, but please tell me, for example, how Benedict is now supposed to unravel that which the Milwaukee police and county prosecutors couldnt over 24 years ago?

Tristan D. Vick said...

The Catholic Apologist said:

"No one, least of all myself is saying the Church was right in covering up abuse. No one, least of all myself is trying to excuse the negligence of the Church.

The Church was negligent, the Church dropped the ball. The Church should have done more and din't. Everyone understands this, and everyone knows this.

It almost seems to me is that the media is looking for the silver bullet, and if they can't find it, they are going to manufacture it. The media is salavating at the oppertunity to take down Pope Benedict VI. That is what this is about. And it is this which I have a problem with."

Ah, come on man... pull your head out of your nether regions! If the Pope wasn't a religious figurehead you'd be calling for his resignation faster than you could say Enron.

I mean, when the man at the top fails his duties, or what's worse, covers up an ILLEGAL scandal, with a paper trail including his own signature, you'd think he had taken his cues from Richard Nixon.

So give us all a break, and do the Christian thing to do, call for the Pope's resignation and hope the next guy can try and fix the damage this wanker has done and begin making amends.