I’m rounding up a number of media reports of the day. Most warrant comment but my priority right now is to get the articles up. This one however I must comment on right now while it’s fresh in my mind, and because I believe it may be important.
11 April 2010: Clergy who conceal abuse should be dismissed: Cardinal
In a newspaper interview Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco allegedly said that pedophilia is a “heinous crime” and even more serious when committed by members of the Church. Bagnasco is quoted as saying that
“Proven cases of mismanagement, underestimation of the facts, if not outright cover-up, will have to be rigorously prosecuted within and outside the Church and, as has already happened in some cases, will have to result in the removal and dismissal of the people involved.”
That all sounds great. I hope that what we understand by Bagnasco’s words is what he actually means. That would be quite something would it not? To have the head of the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops advocate for the dismissal of clergy involve in cover up of clerical sexual predators.
BUT, Bagnasco it seems was talking of paedophiles. He may not have been talking about all clerical sexual predators.
Surely we have all learned all too well by now that in this day and age what one refers to as paedophilia, another refers to as something called ephebophila, and yet another as pederasty.
Only weeks ago, in a 20March 2010 article entitled “Too little, too late” Mgr Scicluna, the Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was quick to point out to his interviewer that it is “incorrect” to refer to many of the 3,000 cases of the past 10 years as paedophiles. According to Scicluna, the majority of the “cases” are ephebophiles, a few are heterosexuals, and a very meagre 10% of clerical molesters are paedophiles. (None it seems are homosexual.)
Here’s the exchange:
GC: That is, then, 3,000 cases of paedophile priests?
CS: It is not correct to put it like that. We can say that, in general, about 60 per cent of these cases chiefly deal with, more than anything else, acts of efebophilia; that is, sexual attraction towards adolescents of the same sex. In another 30 per cent, they are heterosexual acts. And in 10 per cent they are acts of true and proper paedophilia; that is, based on sexual attraction towards prepubescent children. The cases of priests accused of true and proper paedophilia have been about 300 in nine years. These are too many – for goodness sake! – but it must be recognised that the phenomenon is not as widespread as some would have us believe.
We need to watch the language. These people truly seem to think that it is an insult to refer to an “ephebophile” as a paedophile. In the eyes of Scicluan and his ilk ephebophiles are quite a few notches above paedophiles, and they seem to have the notion that one thing any decent respectable ephebophile is NOT is a paedophile.
As for the “heterosexual” priest -he may be guilty of the sins of fornication, or adultery, and of the crime of rape, but even if, let’s say, the object of his perverted affections is a post menses 11-year-old girl, well, that’s not really that bad- he’s not paedophile.
Explain that to the 13-year-old boy whose innocence was so cruelly violated by the priest he idolized. Or the 15-year-old boy. Or the 14-year-old girl violated by a nun. Or repeatedly raped by her parish priest.
Tell that to their parents. Explain it to God. See if He understands that His priests are reserving the millstones for a select few, the scapegoats.
With this sort of dancing on the head of a canonical pin Scicluna and his confreres can say, probably without batting an eye , “the phenomenon” of paedophila is “not as widespread as some would have us believe.”
What happens with these molester-friendly word games when we speak not of paedophile priests, but the startling phenomenon of clerical molesters? or of the pervasive phenomenon of clerical sexual predators? That would be 3,000 would it not? not to mention of course the hundreds if not thousands whose names never made it the Vatican because the local bishop subjectively determined there was no case or insufficient evidence.
My question then, the heart of my concern on this matter is this: Are those who now seem to be boldly advocating severe sanctions, including defrocking, talking about all clerical sexual predators? or are they talking about the relatively speaking miniscule 10% which the experts and most Church officials classify as paedophiles?
In other words, does the Cardinal mean severe sanctions, i.e., dismissal, for ALL clerical sexual predators and those who covered up for them etc. ? Is he using the term “pedophilia” broadly, as does the average layman? Or, is the cardinal playing word and head games with us?
Let’s not be tricked by promises wrought through deliberate use of deceptive word games.
Does Cardinal Bodnasco want to clean out the sexual predators – all of them? Or is he playing with our heads with plans to spare the 90% whom he and the experts deem to be the recyclable cream of the crop?
Watch the language. Don’t be fooled.
Enough for now,