Monday, October 15, 2012

the last book I ever read (Twilight of the Elites, excerpt seven)

from Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Christopher Hayes:

The most vexing and incomprehensible aspect of the Catholic Church abuse scandal isn't the fact that there were priests who were pedophiles: any sufficiently large pool of men will contain a certain number of perverts and predators. Nor was it necessarily that the Church attempted to cover up the crimes committed by its representatives: an ancient and deep-pocketed institution will act ruthlessly to preserve its reputation and legal sovereignty at all costs.

But what is nearly impossible to understand is why Church authorities kept putting priests they knew to be child abusers in positions where they could prey on more children. Why not just exile the pedophiles somewhere away from children permanently? Or quietly kick them out of the priesthood and disown the scandal? "Not only did they cover up sexual abuse," says SNAP founder Barbara Blaine, "but they transferred the predators. It wasn't just allowing it to go on: they fostered the crime so that the predators could have access to more kids."

The most comprehensive study of priest abuse found that 3.5 percent of priests accused of sexual abuse had allegedly molested more than ten victims. This tiny group of repeat offenders make up a staggering 26 percent of the allegations against Catholic priests. What this means is that hundreds, possibly thousands of children could have been saved from abuse if the most incorrigible serial offenders had simply been exiled to posts in which children were not present. Why didn't the cardinals and bishops take this obvious step?

The short answer is social distance. What you find time and time again in church documents is that when a bishop, cardinal, or fellow priest was confronted with an abused child and abuser priest, he extended unfathomable compassion toward his fellow man of the cloth, generating a laundry list of excuses or exculpatory details, while treating the victim with stony officiousness.

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