When will they ever learn….

The review of Fallen Order: A History (Karen Liebreich) by Miranda France in The Guardian Unlimited tells us that Catholic priests have been sexually abusing children for 400 years and still nothing has been done to punish the perpetrators.

The web is full of reasons, excuses and holier-than-thou diatribes upon the awful affects on the priests – but still little is known about why the church does not take the problem more seriously.

UPDATE: It appears that, even when caught and punished, priests think that they are being hard done by. IMO, being on the receiving end in jail would be poetic justice.

Encyclopedia references make no mention of the scandal that caused the order to be (temporarily) discredited and banned by Pope Innocent X in 1646. Similarly historical references to St. Joseph Calasanctius overlook the facts and approved the cannonisation of the founder, even though Calasanz pandered to the proven paedophile Cherubini, promoting him away from the scene of his crime. “Your reverence’s sole aim,” he wrote to a colleague, “is to cover up this great shame in order that it does not come to the notice of our superiors.” What’s changed in Catholic schools since the seventeeth century ?

Fallen Order focuses on sexual abuse within a religious order in 17th-century Italy, and the attempts to cover it up. The book invites us to draw comparisons across the centuries, and it is infuriating to see how little the rhetoric of the Catholic Church has changed in these matters. Its aim can still seem to be to make abuse less terrible by couching it in euphemisms, especially Latin ones, then attributing it to outside forces, rather than to the criminal behaviour of a responsible adult.

Calasanz, the Inquisition and at least one Pope knew that Cherubini had sexually assaulted his pupils and they knew it was wrong; yet the evidence was concealed and he was elevated to positions that offered him fresh opportunities for seduction. Liebreich’s conclusion seems to be that it is time the modern Catholic Church “took a closer look” at the history of the Piarist order. What is the betting that, in a hundred year’s time, St John Calasanz will still be the patron saint of Christian schools.

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2022 years ago

Incidentally I remember seeing a while back that this kind of abuse is as bad in just about every religion where the priests are expected to be celebete.

george farmer
george farmer
2022 years ago

Sexual abuse of children by clergymen is not limited to those pastors who are not allowed to marry.

And Rabbis, who are expected to marry, have been guilty, also.

The scoutmaster and choirmaster of bawdy joke and limerick were also free to wed.

That being said, apparently Catholic clergy are more likely to sexually abuse children, and Protestant clergy more likely to abuse adult women.