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Featured Archbishop pledges to shield pedophiles

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by 9-10ths_Penguin, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. columbus

    columbus yawn <ignore> yawn

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    Sorry, I am too Christian for that.
    Go to jail, probably for life, to protect the rest of the children out there. Being beaten, raped, and killed by other inmates is a whole separate set of crimes that cannot be allowed by a decent society.
    Tom
     
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  2. NewGuyOnTheBlock

    NewGuyOnTheBlock Cult Survivor

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    Perhaps if the abuser is willing and capable of changing their behavior; but emptying one's conscience of such acts then being told "God bless you my son, go and sin no more" certainly doesn't cut the cake. I'll leave the rules of reasonable punishment to the authorities; but confession without change is worthless and can actually serve to keep the cycle of abuser continuing.

    If we are more concerned with the safety of children over the punishment of abusers, then perhaps many of our mandatory reporting laws should be revisited; as they often tie the hands of mental health professionals into forced reporting, which serves to dissuade abusers who desire help from coming forward; and without receiving help, they are much more likely to continue their destructive behavior until they DO receive help.

    I watch with great interest at the progress and success of Germany's Dunkelfeld Project, who does not report discovered instances of abuse when former abusers willfully and seriously seek treatment, guidance and assistance in ending their abusive behaviors. As mandatory reporting, stiffer penalties, etc. etc. etc. have failed to curb the instances of child sexual abuse, it makes sense to try a different approach ... and this approach certainly would not exist in most nations due to mandatory reporting.

    I do not believe that religion and religious confessions should serve to shield abusers of children. Religious persuasions, practices and doctrines have shown a highly unsatisfactory track record of changing this type of behavior.

    Speech like this silences abusers who may otherwise seek help to stop doing what they are doing, and they don't want to be beaten and possibly killed by inmates.

    Speech like this silences victims, who most often know their abusers and don't wan't their abuser beaten and possibly killed by inmates.

    Speech like this silences witnesses, who are often friends and relatives of the person they have discovered engaging in such activities; and don't want a friend or relative to be beaten and possibly killed by inmates.

    Speech like this is a part of the problem.

    Childhood sexual abuse must stop; but beating and killing abusers has been going on, even in "civilized" nations for a very long time; and it doesn't seem to be doing anything to stem the tide of new or repeat instances of these crimes.

    Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity; and on this issue, our children pay the price for our stubbornness.

    I wholeheartedly agree.
     
    #42 NewGuyOnTheBlock, Sep 3, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
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  3. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    I'm just not sure what the confession is worth, if we can't act on it?


    I wish our prisons were more rehabilitative and less (practically) punitive. But that's a whole separate issue.
     
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  4. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Well-Known Member

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    If a child abuser knows that police are likely to be informed of any potential confession, then what child abuser not willing to turn himself in would even go to confession? What would any law accomplish in actually catching child abusers? The confessional seal (at the very least) allows the possibility that someone sorry enough to go to confession can be talked into going to the authorities. To die in mortal sin without contrition (and thus being willing to do whatever necessary to attain absolution) is certain damnation.

    In simple language, make absolution conditional in turning oneself in. A Catholic concerned with not burning in hell forever will do so. Indeed a person wouldn't go to confession if he did not think burning in hell wasn't a real possibility.

    A grotesque distortion.

    Absolution requires genuine contrition, a willingness to do whatever necessary to make good (as much as can be done) on whatever wrong has been committed. In the case of sexually abusing children, turning oneself in would be a pretty good start. At the very least one would hope that a child abuser would never get absolution from a priest without a serious intention of doing so.

    The decision has already been made, the seal of confession is absolute, even if it means jail or worse.




    EDIT: I clicked 'no' on the poll by accident.
     
    #44 Musing Bassist, Sep 4, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  5. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Well-Known Member

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    Matthew 16:19 Matthew 18:18 John 20:23
     
  6. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Well-Known Member

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    Except that without the seal of confession there would be no confession of the abuse to begin with meaning that the perpetrator would be still just as much at large. Any mandatory reporting law would only incentivize the silence of the perpetrator, now with the glimmer of hope that the priest may have for getting the perpetrator to turn himself in cut off. The glimmer of hope exists because to even go to confession at all suggests that the perpetrator still has a conscience.

    The situation would be worse in regards to actually catching pedophiles.
     
    #46 Musing Bassist, Sep 4, 2017
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  7. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Then are you saying that there should be no priest-penitent privilege so that the state doesn't need to get involved in determining when it applies and when it doesn't? It seems so.

    If the church wants this privilege and receives it, it receives it at the pleasure of the state. That means that whenever anybody invokes this privilege, he is agreeing to submit to any investigation the state may wish to conduct to determine the legitimacy of the claim that a bona fide ministerial relationship existed, and that the confession was a religious act and not just an indiscretion made in front of a cleric or somebody claiming to be one. If the church doesn't want this kind of involvement with the government, it needs to reject the option of invoking priest-penitent privilege.

    If you meant that no such privilege should be granted by the state in the first place, I agree, but not for the same reasons you gave. I don't mind it a bit if the church invokes privilege and the state chooses to review the validity of the claim. That's its duty to the people. I agree that I would rather not have the state acting in that capacity, but not because it's an intrusion into church business. I'd rather that it not need to.

    I've already indicated that I wouldn't grant immunity from the law for confessing to a crime to a priest or pastor for other reasons, but this would be another. Why consume the states resources policing this matter?

    Your common law spousal privilege analogy is apt. If people are going to claim that rights and privileges granted under specific circumstances defined by the law, then the state has the right and duty to determine if the claimant meets those criteria.

    Does that sound about right to you?
     
  8. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Same consequence? Doesn't he lose whatever benefit we're assigning to confession?

    Some have hinted at this benefit belonging to society - that somehow, the rest of us are better off if the penitent confesses his crimes without being prosecuted. I don't see that benefit. I think it's the opposite. I think that such practices enable the criminal by giving him a sense of absolution for past deeds, and suggests how easy it would be for him to repeat the crime at no risk to his immortal soul.

    The benefit seems to be to the criminal - to comfort him, and to make him feel saved again. I don't see that as outweighing the state's interest to identify and prosecute criminals. I don't really care about comforting a pedophile. If he is to be rehabilitated without incarceration, it will be by experiencing profound guilt.

    Regarding the fate of soul, as I understand it, the Protestant doesn't require a human intercessor to receive salvation. He can make his confession in his prayers. He has lost nothing if priest-penitent privilege isn't granted. Many have objected to this idea of easy forgiveness without contrition, apology or restitution for the reason just mentioned: It facilitates more crime. Moreover, its injustice offends the sensiblities.

    But the Catholic believes that salvation depends on confessing to a priest. If a Catholic has committed a crime and believes that he cannot get to heaven without confessing the crime to a priest, then let him choose between both salvation and arrest, or neither.

    That's fair to me. How about you?
     
  9. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    I agree that the criminal should pay the price, but the price that the state has a right to ask of the convicted felon is the loss of freedom, the loss of dignity, the social stigma, removal from the household, the loss of income, the permanent loss of the vote, and the permanent loss of the right to gun ownership - not beatings, rapings, AIDS acquisition, or murder.

    Do you agree?
     
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  10. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    This is a hard thing to evaluate because it's not amenable to experimentation.
    Issues....
    - To what extent does counseling stop pedophiles?
    - Are clergy, who aren't necessarily trained psychotherapists, & might have an increased
    propensity themselves for sexual deviance & abuse appropriate for such counseling?
    - How many crimes are enabled vs prevented by confidentiality?
    - Is it ethical for counselors to know of a likely imminent crime, & remain silent about it?
    - What different thresholds should we have for removing confidentiality,
    eg, if an actual crime has been committed, or one is being planned?

    We should note that religious institutions (not just Xians) have a poor record of handling things
    behind closed doors. They've concealed child rapists, & enabled their continued crimes.
    I don't trust them.
     
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  11. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    You're not asking the question in a correct way because the real question is not a matter of "shielding" but a question of the sanctity of confession and how far it should extend. It's a tough call that can be argued either way.
     
  12. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I'm asking the question from my perspective, which is a valid one, IMO.

    Somebody who has knowledge of the sexual abuse of a child that and doesn't report it is shielding the perpetrator. "The sanctity of confession" just speaks to the person's motives for shielding them.

    I don't see the confessional seal as creating any more of a "tough call" than doctor-patient privilege does. In Australia, the law says that mandatory reporting overrides doctor-patient privilege; given that, why would we give priest-penitent privilege even higher status than doctor-patient privilege?
     
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  13. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    It should be reported without exception. If you are dumb enough to "confess" your "sin", the priest should be required to reward that stupidity with a call to the police and advising 12,334,343 hail Mary's.
     
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  14. idav

    idav Being
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    It doesn't need to be a tough call for a priest. A persons obligation to God or religion to confess is between them and God. Spiritual closure doesn't absolve anyone from wordly closure. IOW, there is a reason people confess their demons to priests, because otherwise they are living a lie, at least as far as that religion would be concerned.
     
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  15. idav

    idav Being
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    You mean smart enough to seek closure from God.;)
     
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  16. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    You're essentially looking at this is "black & white" terms when it really is not that simple, plus you use a loaded term with your use of "shielding".

    This had been debated for centuries with even movies made about this, but what you are doing is trivializing the complexity of what really is involved.

    BTW, did you notice that I haven't given an opinion?
     
  17. columbus

    columbus yawn <ignore> yawn

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    I am very fond of the RCC. But this attitude is it's worst feature. "We have always been above the law and will remain so." is not acceptable any more. In fact it is exactly what created the child abuse scandals of the past.

    It is why the Church doesn't have the moral authority it used to have. And why it is peculiarly untrustworthy on this particular issue.
    I hope that it doesn't become necessary to jail and fine bishops. But if it is then so be it. The children of the world deserve better protection than the Church has been able to provide.
    Tom
     
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  18. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Sometimes a priest can go about this in a roundabout way, such as notifying the police that a child may have been molested by an unnamed person.
     
  19. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    That may be true however the church could simply make a very progressive step and post signs outside confessionals that they will no longer enable or facilitate sinners who commit capital crimes OR sinners (parishioners) who commit any sexual crimes against children. I don't see anyone seriously pushing back against such a progressive move. I think most parishioner's would think, "It's about time."

    As @columus so passionately expressed, the churches have had a pretty dismal track record thus far on policing this type of crime in the past. Clearly, they are unable to rise to the task and so must be compelled to do so legally. What horrors were allowed to go on just so the churches would not be raked through the muck of their own creation? That we have allowed them to do so makes us equally complicit.
     
    #59 YmirGF, Sep 4, 2017
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  20. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Then let it be between them and God.

    It obstructs "worldly closure." It prevents or delays getting victims the care they need. It prevents or delays justice. It increases the odds of more abuse in future by the perpetrator.

    I don't care. That's secondary to making sure that abuse victims get the care they need.
     
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