Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sex, Priests and Secret Codes ...

A book that claims to trace the history of sexual abuse by clergy over the centuries.
More than 20 years ago, the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a lawyer assigned to the Vatican Embassy, tried to warn the Vatican that it was facing a potential scandal involving children and allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Since then, the priest has worked with 2,000 victims of clerical sexual abuse and testified on behalf of victims in 200 court cases.

A new book co-written by Doyle, "Sex, Priests and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse," makes a case that sexual abuse has been a problem in the Catholic Church since its earliest days — even the fourth century.

Papal decrees were issued in an attempt to regulate the sex lives of the clergy, the authors say. "In days when priests were allowed to marry, we find laws telling them to avoid sex; when celibacy became mandatory for the clergy, we find laws against concubinage. We also find condemnations of homosexuality in the ranks of the clergy; the sexual abuse of minors; and the solicitation of sex by priests in the confessional."

"I knew it went back decades; I just didn't know how far," said Doyle, who recently retired as a U.S. Air Force chaplain. "There is evidence that the bishops tried to stop these things and discipline priests, but there is (little) mention of any discipline against those who cover it up."
Well I think everyone suspected that this wasn't just a modern phenomenon (and I don't buy the whole "dissent caused the crisis." It may have enabled it, but it didn't cause it. Besides, the main crisis was the shameful cover up.) ... so I'm not sure what the point here really is. Here's the publisher's site. A bit sensationalist? And what does this mean?
The sexual abuse crisis is not isolated from the questions of the celibate practice of all Catholic clergy and the moral questions that involve marriage and all human sexual behaviors. These are the main, yet unspoken, reasons why sexual abuse has been such an inflammatory and dangerous issue for the hierarchy.

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