Reply To: ‘Frontline’ fails to air in Rio Grande Valley

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Anonymous
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I saw the first 1.25 hours of the program, it was slanted, but not without it’s merit. I’m sure the bishop who was asked for an interview has been advised by council to not grant interviews on the subject. I am sure there are many men and women who in their early years where seduced and assaulted, as well as molested by clergy who where Catholic. What documenaties and the many written expose written on the subject omit (In my never to be humble opinion) are the following.

In the context of the time, sex was not discussed anywhere in polite society, let alone in public or the Church.

Homosexual behavior or pedophilia was discussed even less.

As this article from the Christian Science Monitor points out the problem is even worse among Protestant Churches. [url:zuqhppn0]http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0405/p01s01-ussc.html[/url:zuqhppn0] Not having the centralized power structure that the Roman Cathilic Church has, offenders could go from congregation to congregation, with the previous committee for hiring the ministers not disclosing what had happened out of fear that they would be branded as enablers for the crime.

The issue is one of people who are put into positions of power, and not mature enough for it, and the harm they do to those subordinate to them. Pedophilia, and rape are issues not of proper sexual behavior but are crimes of those who have a malfomed psyche.

Public officials have recently been exposed, (look to Congress, and a couple of Superior Court Judges in Southern California.) A friend in the police force tells me it they turn a blind eye to it in the PD when it happens among the officers.

[b:zuqhppn0]In summary:[/b:zuqhppn0]
It is a crime that has happened in all strata of the world since the earliest of times.

It is always wrong.

It needs to be discussed and brought out into the open. Offenders need to be isolated from society most of all from those they offended. Not pooled togeather where they can enjoy swapping stories. Victims need to have appropriate therapy, suited to the individual, as one fix does not work for everyone.

For Catholic Clerics I’d like to see the old degradation of a cleric brought back. Before Vatican II, there was a rite that existed in the Roman Pontifical, (a liturgical book for rites commonly celebrated by Bishops.) After an investigation that proved the charges to be valid, the priest or other cleric was led into the Cathedral vested in the vestments proper to his order. After being formally excorriated for his crime, each of the vestments of his office where removed down to his shirt and pants. If he was a priest or bishop, the places where he had been anointed (hands, and forehead for bishop.) where scraped with a shard of glass, to symbolically remove the anointings, (he remained a priest or bishop, but could not function as so licitly) and he was prodded to the entrance of the Cathedral at the pointy end of the bishop’s crozier into the hands of the Civial Government authorities who arrested him and after a civil trial was punished accordingly.

Why did the ceremony take place? A priest is subject to much gossip, because he has taken a life of service. He also (in the Western Church) has renounced the pleasures of a wife. So many look on him with confusion. False wittness is brought against priests all the time. A husband who wants to know if his wife is cheating may try to force the woman’s confession out of him by threatening some sort of defamation or harm. For this reason Church law, (Canon Law) requries that a cleric be tried by a Church Court first, and the remedy be administered by a Church Court. The punishment, minus the torture or death penalty is usually much more harsh in the Church. In the past priests who where found guilty where sent to monastic houses where they did great penances, no meat, sleeping on the stone floor, hard labor, attendance at the Divine Liturgy and the Office, but they where not allowed to activly participate in their former roles, etc. For those cases that did not cooperate with the Church, the civil authorities had torture and the death penalty, which the Church granted was within the rights of the Civil authorities to protect the citizens.

Most of all, the ceremony showed that the Church would not suffer to have such vices among the clergy.

Looking at it from 21st century minds we sometimes don’t understand why things developed in the past. We don’t understand the culture and moral life of the time. We think of the Middle Ages as ones of darkness that we don’t want to go back to. However there was “back in the day” daily reminders throughout society of the eternal, of sin and it’s punishment, and of the purpose of life, (Confomity to Christ, and the goal of eternal happiness with Christ and the Church Triumphant.)