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Eduardo Penalver

Kensy -- your theory strikes me as totally unfalsifiable. You deem the fact that the media haven't found evidence of similar scales of abuse and cover-ups as evidence that they're not looking hard enough. The fact that you hear news reports about teachers seducing (note, the difference between seduction and pedophilia), however, suggests that the media is in fact scrutinizing the behavior of other institutions. My guess is that if you were to find other institutions with the same degree of cover up and reassignment that we see in the Church, you'd be looking at an institution with a similarly authoritarian bureaucratic structure. I would imagine that some school districts might fit that bill, as would some other faith communities. My point is not that the Church is totally unique in facing this problem, but that its defense does not really own up to the nature of the problem, which is itself a function of the Church's governance structure. Imagine what would happen to a school superintendent in a functional democracy who took an abusive teacher (or a number of such teachers) and merely reassigned him to a different group of kids. In short order, I suspect, s/he'd be voted out of office. What happened to bishops when they did the same? (1) It mostly went undetected for decades and (2) even when it came out, they did not tend to be disciplined in any significant way. The constituency for a bishop is primarily up the hieararchy and only secondarily down in the pews.

Kensy Joseph

"Although the Church leadership is fond of saying that all sorts of other institutions have experienced child sexual abuse, I cannot think of any organization that has had the same history of both (1) covering it up and (2) repeatedly sending the wolves back out to tend the sheep."

How many other organisations have been pursued with the same diligence and persistence by the mainstream media? Remember, there are over 400,000 Catholic priests working worldwide. What would the statistics be if reporters decided to follow a comparable organisation? In Britain, for instance, hardly a week passes by without a news report of a high school teacher seducing or having sexual relations with a student (in around half the cases, the perpetrators are women) - yet there is no comparable clamour for a review of the public schooling system. In many cases, there is evidence of cover-up as well.

What do you say?

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