• By Rachel Ford

    I don’t usually do this, but this is pretty horrifying stuff. So, content warning for rape and child abuse.

    A Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into the Pennsylvanian Altoona-Johnstown D […]

    • Garrick,

      I went to 16 years of catholic school. I am of the opinion that, in fact, the church leaders (and centuries of church leaders) think raping children is just fine. I think that the priesthood, somewhere along the course of history was hijacked by child rapists, and, in fact, it is the norm and not just defended and hidden; but actually encouraged and expected. I think that this zeitgeist has been part and parcel of the church and is so ingrained that it has only recently began to abate as it has been exposed to the light of day and as (hopefully) men have moved into positions who, themselves, are not rapists nor are they amenable to enabling such awful people.

      However, it is slow going and I proffer that the pace of this turnaround is directly proportional to exactly how “OK” the clergy is/has always been with hurting children. If there is an alternative hypothesis, I’d entertain it, but, it would have to be pretty persuasive to convince me that my hypothesis is not, in fact a THEORY.

    • This is what you get when you repress normal sexuality in a boys club in which one is encouraged believe in authority above all else. I have a hypothesis (thanks Crooked for the reminder – I almost said theory) that churches can only maintain a hold if you have had to give something significant up.

      Like a poker machine people get trapped by the idea that they have already thrown in $100 so they had better keep doing it until it pays off or they’d have been fools and wasted all that money. The trick is to get people to believe in patent nonsense in the first place. Churches requiring celibacy in the priesthood I suspect have a similar impact to have sacrificed so much that your body desires by way of normal sexual desire requires commitment and the more you have missed out on and the longer you have suffered the harder it would be to leave. Unfortunately this system isn’t perfect and I suspect it just succeeds in twisting the sexuality of those involved, hence the proportion of child rapists. Unfortunately many of these guys have now ascended into power and must know the whole deck of card could come crumbling down around them. But get the average Catholic to see this seems to be a bit more difficult than it should be.

    • Reckless,

      The situation you describe with the poker allusion is referred to as “pot committed” in my neck of the woods. And, it is a lucid insight you’ve provided. Imagine being so pot committed that the rape of a child is secondary on your priority list. It’s repugnant.

      But, i will stand by my hypothesis; it is business as usual and even encouraged and has been for most of the RCC’s shit history. I hope the needle is moving opposite to these child abusing rapists, but, fear that it only window dressing and the real problem has simply been buried more efficiently.

    • Sorry, Garrick. It had been automatically set aside as spam – not sure why: normally it’s because of links, but clearly not in this case.

      It does happen from time to time. We look in at regular intervals and will always retrieve anything that’s been wrongly set aside for approval or marked as spam, so in most cases it’s just a question of waiting until one of us is online again.

      It’s back again now.

      The mods

    • Alan4 and Garrick,

      The fact that I was surrounded by it and that it “seems” to trace back generations caused my bold hypothesis. I’d certainly be relieved to be demonstrably proven wrong. I had no fewer than 40% of priests I’ve ever known as known predators (I mentally compiled a list). Even more recently, a priest at my children’s school (yes, i sent my kids to catholic school — long story) was shown to be a pedophile. now, Garrick, while I would go to the mat defending the man who runs our parish and would agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of “saintly” when it comes to him, I gotta ask you, if you were a member of an organization that purported to help the most vulnerable of people and, you found out that a minority (a large minority) of the members that you thought were doing good work were, in fact, wrecking peoples lives and then ducking the responsibility; the moral, legal, and monetary responsibility, could I still call you saintly if you stayed in the ranks of such a group?

      The only way I can see people staying is if they have no other harbor, and no offense, but in my geographical area, ex-priests have little or no job viability, nor are they trained to do anything remotely close to marketable. they are truly pot committed. So, these disgusting acts of men who clearly are contemptuous of these children are systematically covered up and defended because the men of the organization cannot allow it to fail. They have nothing outside of it.

      I had two pedophile priests make advances toward me twice in my life, but I am a confident confrontational extrovert and i think the predator realized that they’d get the “short end” if they followed through. I actually smacked one of them when his hand went to my body. The other simply said perverse things, I told him to fuck off and went on my way. The man drove a purple Cadillac with a velvet interior and literally wore thongs that he’d “show off” by bending over in front of a room full of high school kids.

      I live in Philly, and a cursory google search of relatable search words will yield an almost unbelievable avalanche of reported cases.

      Further (and over the top reprehensible) the RCC in Wilmington, Delaware actually filed bankruptcy to keep from having to settle an 88 million dollar suit won by the raped children. Can you imagine a more blatant demonstration of their actual idol of worship? it is certainly not any god, but rather money. Sex and money.

      The diocese of Philadelphia is looking at doing the same thing over an estimated 100 million dollar plus settlement. Here’s the thing. How on earth is our gov’t allowing individual churches to claim bankruptcy to evade what is just and right when each of these parishes contributes to the whole of the church? Oh, that’s right, they all worship that same cash money.

    • Garrick,

      I once said to a nun:

      What better disguise could your devil have than to masquerade as an institution that helps people and what better test of your free will could there be than to see the evidence and walk away?

      Her answer was to get infuriated and declare the conversation closed.

      Thanks for your praise, it is a very small thing that you allude to. But, a losing night at poker does not mean you lost every hand… rather you could only lose one hand out of 100 and have wagered enough on the loser to offset all your winnings. This works beautifully for me in relation to the raping of ONE SINGLE child. it offsets any and every other thing that may be done. The RCC is a loser because of their inability to act appropriately. One child hurt is a big enough “losing hand” to offset the rest.

      And, as a small bit of evidence for my hypothesis, I will rely on the stark drop off in young men getting “the call” to the priesthood correlating with the light shining on the nastiness of the clergy. It’s no longer safe and the numbers have dropped and dropped and dropped.

      Last year, in the BILLION dollar St. Charles Seminary (near me), 6 priests were ordained. SIX.

    • Hi Crookedshoes,

      I love the comment you gave to the nun. My nephew is serious about a lovely young girl from a Catholic family. She is very curious about beliefs and is still part of the church, her brother is becoming a priest and I’m just itching to meet him and have a chat. I’m going to keep that one up my sleeve for that occasion.

      Just found out about the interdependent confirmation of the Irish home for unwed mothers run by nuns who took unwed mothers until they had their babies, then kept the babies only to poorly feed them and keep them under appalling conditions causing 800 to die from 1930 to 1960 (about 1 every 3 weeks by my rough calculations). The bodies were not buried but put in some sort of septic system. I remember this coming up a few years ago on this site and there being some controversy about the legitimacy of this (although the controversy may have been at my school where it was hotly debated in my staffroom also). Well it has now apparently been confirmed. Multiply that potentially by all these types of homes world wide and it leaves me wondering about how the Catholic church effects men and women differently. There have been no allegations of sexual abuse of these children that I am aware of but they were clearly treated appallingly, has been described by survivors as like a prison. So I’m finding myself very curious about how the extremes of belief are manifested in the Catholic church among both the men and women.


    • @Garrick, thanks very much for your insights and contribution. Much appreciated.

      I support the Theory offered by crookedshoes and I think Reckless Monkey’s hypothesis about sexual repression is an accurate explanation of phenomenon.

      You remarked:

      “…apart from a few reports of rumors and gossip, very little
      evidence exists of any such abuse of children by priests and religious
      prior to, say, the First World War. That, of course, is not to say
      that it did not occur…the problem of child-molestation by priests
      and religious goes back centuries, at least as far back as the twelfth

      You would be familiar with Didache, the first writings we have I think, which described the problem of clerical child rape, so the record extends to the beginning of The Church.

      Recent revelations in Australia indicate between 7% and 40% of clerics have been exposed as perpetrators. Naturally that precludes those who have evaded detection, aided and abetted by the existing hierarchy.