16 thoughts on “By the numbers

  1. What constitutes “action” in your mind? Shuffling offenders from parish to parish?

    At the highest levels, the Church still hasn’t accepted responsibility for its actions, nor enacted policy reforms to prevent future offenses–despite having had decades to do so. Sensible people are simply disgusted with institutional abuse; they’re not “bigots” against the Church.

    -A former Catholic

  2. Actually, Keith, on this subject the Church has indeed enacted policy reforms to prevent future abuses. That’s the point. The media has made this into an issue that has largely been dealt with.

    However, that doesn’t mean that existing bishops who did the shuffling should not be called out and held to account. But to smear the Pope (probably the most positive force for good on this score) is not right either.

  3. I’m so not impressed, Ted, that you are pleased to dig up stuff that happened CENTURIES ago. That’s real big of you. Way to go in nurturing a grudge.

    You don’t even know what the Inquisition really was. In fact, the Church could greatly benefit right now from a new internal “inquisition” to uncover all the priests and bishops that abused their positions by shuffling known sex offenders into new parishes rather than bringing them to justice. Clean house and take no prisoners.

  4. I like the way you think, Steve G. Can we follow that with a bloodless Crusade against the Progressives and their heresies?

  5. An interesting graph, but I’m not sure it quite helps us know that this problem is in the past. Any allegation is placed in the year that the alleged incident took place — understandably enough. But what this means is that the last year of the study, 2003, could only reflect allegations from its own year; 2002 would include allegations made about 2002 either in 2002 or 2003; 2001, in 2001-3, and so forth. It is not surprising, then, that the bulge of the graph is in the middle past. The question is whether 30 years from now whether the graph would have its bulge now.

  6. Sorry, Buckets, that doesn’t make much sense since the accusations (blue line) and actual incidents (red line) correlate with one another.

    Besides, the controls have been in place for years now.

    There will be no repeat performance. In fact, this past year, there were 6 accusations in total in the U.S.

  7. Obviously they correlate: each complaint will presumably be about a priest and a some will be about multiple incidents, as (one assumes) about last year’s six complaints.

    My point was about how the data-points will accumulate over time. Take last year’s six complaints. These are not all complaints (I assume) about assaults that took place in 2009: most were surely about past abuse. But take each of those complaints and add it to the chart, and you’ll have another datapoint to add to single years in the past. But what this tell us about now? Not too much.

    But the corollary of that observation is that the comfort that you are trying to take out of the graph — that it is a problem of the past — is largely illusory. Vigilance is still necessary.

  8. Well, Buckets, while theoretically you might have a legitimate point, I don’t think it is born out by the evidence from 2002 to 2009.

    1) The Catholic Church has already moved to ensure these things don’t happen on a large scale again. So from the perspective of what is under control *now*, there’s not much else to do. In fact, the stats bear this out since the controls went into place. The only thing left for the media to do is extract as much flesh as possible in focusing on what homosexual-priest predators did in the past. I’m sure they’ll milk it for all it’s worth, and ensure that the public is not made aware that the Church has indeed cleaned up its act since 2002. But let’s not dwell on these petty details…..

    2) There were 6 credible reports in 2009. That tells me that we are unlikely to see a huge spike in the future. 2002 was a “banner” year for reporting this stuff since it was the first time the reports became public and abuse victims spoke up. That’s totally understandable. You would think that most of the victims would have spoken up then.

    If the abuse was constant over decades, we should have seen figure 5.2.1 after 2002 continue in high numbers but we don’t see that at all. We see a precipitous drop i.e. over 3000 in 2002 to 6 in 2009. This means that many of the abuse victims “let it all out” in 2002. This leads me to believe that we have seen the majority of the cases. And as the years go on, it is more unlikely to see high spikes.

  9. And another thing, Buckets, you said 10% reported right away. That would mean we are looking at 54 more accusations in the future (for the 2009 reporting year) under the OLD rubric. Nothing to be proud of for sure, but not the thousands of the past. It’s the last residual of the abuse.

  10. I’m pretty sure that I am more right than wrong. However, whether I am right or wrong on the history has little to do with the current media frenzy feeding on the majority of priests and bishops and pope who have been smeared unjustly.

    This isn’t about the children, buckets. This is about attacking the moral teachings of the Church. It’s so obvious on so many fronts, it hardly needs to be debated.

    Still, the media doesn’t even realize that it is playing a central role in bringing down the gay agenda in the Church and in the society at large.

    And for that all of us should be most grateful to them.

  11. This isn’t about the children, buckets. This is about attacking the moral teachings of the Church.

    I suspect that it’s about different things to different people. Most, I suspect, think that they’re attacking moral failings, not moral teachings.

    Still, the media doesn’t even realize that it is playing a central role in bringing down the gay agenda in the Church and in the society at large.

    You’ll have to explain that one to me.

  12. I suspect that it’s about different things to different people. Most, I suspect, think that they’re attacking moral failings, not moral teachings.

    No, Buckets. We know this is not true on many, many fronts. Let me give you one example. Cardinal Mahony, the Archbishop of L.A., is soon to retire (thank God). His coverups of priestly abuse are staggering. Yet the media leave him alone because he is a liberal. His coverups are much more than Cardinal Law, the former disgraced Archbishop of Boston who was forced out. Law had more conservative views. And I could go down the list of these kinds of examples. If the media see an ally in the Church hierarchy, they won’t touch him, except for the obligatory back page news item. If you want some evidence of this…consider this. The successor to Mahony is Archbishop Gomez, a member of Opus Dei. Now they’re having hairy fit because this guy is a very conservative bishop. So it all makes sense. You will never, ever see the media applying the same standards in reporting when one of “their own” is guilty. For obvious reasons, they don’t want a conservative in the biggest diocese in the U.S. That’s why we know it’s not about “the children”. The children are just the most current pawn in their sick little games.

    Still, the media doesn’t even realize that it is playing a central role in bringing down the gay agenda in the Church and in the society at large.

    You’ll have to explain that one to me

    .

    Well, Benedict will now have an excuse to move his agenda quicker in the Church, by-passing previous provisions in canon law which gave local bishops more autonomy on these matters. Like anything, while the Pope does have supreme authority, he still has to sell his moves to the bishops who could put up road blocks. It’s politics. This media frenzy is going to make it easier for him to sell it. Contrary to popular myth, the Catholic Church is quite decentralized in many facets of day-to-day life, I can assure you. Rome only gets involved when the roof is crashing down, frankly.

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