Catholics, do you trust in the hierarchy of your church?

I spent Friday evening watching the US Premier of MEA MAXIMA CULPA , a documentary about the child sex abuse scandal that was exposed during the 2000s.

The investigation was started by a single letter written by a deaf man in the 1970s, complaining about a catholic priest at St John's school for the deaf in MIlwaukee.

The movie presents clear evidence of a cover up by archbishops, and the sitting Popes (John Paul II and Benedict XVI).

I am not a catholic. I am wondering how other catholics feel about this scandal knowing that the church protected the priests and not the children, and that this practice certainly went on for decades, if not centuries.

If you are unaware of the depth of the cover up, go see this movie. It will be at some of your movie theaters, and air on HBO in 213.


@Paul, then do you condone the sexual abuse of children when such acts are done by priests or other members if the catholic church? It is clear that both John Paul II and John Ratzinger were well aware of suce incidents occurring, but they did nothing to protect other children from being abused.

If you do not believe what I state is the truth, please go to this movie.

There is documentary evidence that proves my statements.

Update 2:

I don not know of evidence of protestants covering up the abuse.

It is the cover up that I am asking about.

Update 3:

Some of these individuals were reported and nothing was done. There is evidence of two members of the Papal Nunci being involved as early as the 1970s.

There are two priests, one in MIlwaukee and one in Ireland who abused more than 200 children each.

The abuse was allowed to continue because the arch bishops, and the Pope seemed to care more about protecting the preist than protecting the children.

We do not have accurate statistics about how many priests abused children because the records are kept secret in the vatican. In 2001, John Paul II directed that all such complaints be directed to Arch Bishop Ratzinger.

9 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favourite answer

    All institution participate in coverups: us gov, penn state, big pharma, banks. Children are statisticly safer with priests then their own family when it comes to abuse. When humans are involved things will go wrong.

  • John S
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    As a Catholic... I have to start by saying that I don't condone pedophilia. It is amazing that many non-Catholics assume that because one is Catholic that they totally condone pedophilia OR that we are some how defending the church and see no blame. -- So I have to start with a rather obvious statement like this.

    <<Catholics, do you trust in the hierarchy of your church?>>

    I do not blindly trust the hierarchy of the Church. What I DO trust is the Holy Spirit which Christ promised would keep the Church from teaching error as truth, theologically. Therefore, while the scandals may rock the church. They do not change its doctrines/dogmas. So ultimately, my trust rests not merely with them..but on God's promise to the Church he founded.

    Make sense?

    It would be kinda similar to saying.. "I don't have blind trust in the President nor Congress, but I DO believe in the constitution and therefore won't leave the U.S. because no where else has a U.S. Constitution. -- See the rough analogy?

    My trust is in the promise from God and the dogmas taught by his church. No other Church has this promise nor the exact same teachings. Not Protestantism, Not Orthodoxy, not Anglicanism.

    So to leave the church would be to ALSO compromise on what I believe are the core truths of the Christian faith and profess a lesser thing as truth.

    As for the film.....

    I've done some of my own amateur research on this issue, myself. It is a complex issue of miss steps by not only the church, but society and the authorities.

    I've seen the media mishandle the editorialize this enough that I don't immediately trust a film about it. Not this soon after the scandal and not one that seems to pander to what most people already think about the Church.

    I'd trust a documentary that went into it either with open mind OR that looked at both sides, not just one. Any documentary that goes in trying to prove a point is more of an editorial piece then true journalism.

    I haven't seen the movie but I've read reviews on 6 different sites. All seem to say that it is 1 sided, though most of those sites seem to praise it for how it bashed the church.

    I'd like to see a more honest portrayal of this complex issue that spanned many decades.


    Lastly, don't get me wrong, I'm not defending the church... just want to see society take an HONEST look at it, so we can ALL learn. Because the issue of pedophilia goes MUCH farther and deeper then most people are willing to look at.

  • Shogun
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Actually, the hierarchy consists of men and men are not perfect and are subject to sin. The only time the Pope is infallible is on matter of morals and doctrine, but even this is based on much prayer and consultation with cardinals.

    Satan's attacks the church in many ways and the fact that so many homosexual pedophiles could infiltrate the Catholic Church says volumes. Acting in error, but so typical of human nature, certain men in power tried to conceal the allegations. This is regrettable and they should answer to the law for not providing protection to children. Jesus is specific as to how those who harm children will be punished.

    This issue has now raised it's head and Protestant Churches are no answering for abuse allegations. There are in fact lawsuits to that effect. The US Insurance industry, which insures the Churches has reported more complaints against Protestant clergy than Catholic. You can start googling and you will start discovering newspaper articles, etc. The problem is that many Protestant churches are independent, and thus there is no telling how many incidents have gone unreported. This is common sense based on the nature of child abuse. Although any child abuse should have zero tolerance at any level we must remember that Christian clergy remains in the 2 percent of violators and the overwhelming number of child abuse perpetrators are family members and friends. If you want some reference points for Protestant abuse you can start with the below link. God Bless.

  • carl
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Pedophilia is a horrible evil. It saddens me to think that any priest has done this evil act. It saddens me to think that anyone has tried to cover it up or to allow it to occur. However, if a priest did an act of evil and he was punished for it, it does not need to be shouted from the roof tops. He needs to be punished and the victim needs to be compensated. But, I can see why we don't want to give evil too much publicity. And, we don't want to embarrass the victims by making their name public. On the other hand if someone knows about the evil but does nothing to stop it that is a grave injustice also.

    What I do know is that back 50 years ago when most of these cases now in the media occurred that psychologists at that time were teaching that pedophiles should go through a rehabilitation/counseling course because they believed that pedophiles could be cured. So they advised society to give them counseling and then to allow them to be reintegrated into society after they have been cured. This was true not just in churches but also in schools.

    They did not have the mentality that we seem to have today where we think that a pedophile is a dangerous predator for life and could not have any hope of rehabilitation. They believed they could be rehabilitated.

    So, I think there is some unfair blame on the church in certain cases for allowing former pedophiles after being treated to return as priests only to commit the crime again. It was not the intent of the church to allow them to be repeat offenders. It was thought at that time that they were cured and would not offend again. This was also the case in public schools.

    Today, we know that pedophiles still need to receive counseling and rehabilitation, but we also know now that they need to be reassigned in society where they are not tempted to repeat offend.

    I think we should be interested in the truth about what has happened and not merely what one side has to say about it. If the media becomes too accusing it is only human nature for one to defend itself from such attacks. Thus, the truth may never come out because it makes people too defensive.

    For some the media publicity is just another way to attack the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church calls premarital sex a sin, birth control a sin, and things that this culture promotes. Thus, whenever possible people enslaved to the culture and opposed to the CC will find ways to try to denounce it. For many Catholics this is just one more attack on the CC in a seemingly never ending battle.

    While no particular person in the Catholic Church is guaranteed to be free from all sin or to never sin, the Church itself is guaranteed by Jesus never to be destroyed by the gates of Hades (Mt 16:18-19). So while we can see some of its members fail in a big way, the Church itself continues to teach the true doctrines of salvation. But, just because there is a rule that we should love our neighbor, does not guarantee that we will in fact do so. This is why we need to pray for our bishops and clergy so that they can remain faithful to their calling in Christ Jesus. And we can give them the benefit of the doubt that the vast majority do so. The Catholic Church is spread out all over the world and vast majority of priests and bishops are not pedophiles.

    God Bless

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  • Tico
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    The Catholic church had to accept the integrity of it's employees. Like now, there have always been people making allegations to cause embarrassment and harm. Because of this it was slow to accept the word of others. We now know different and it is being sorted now. To what extent we will have to wait and see.

    Paedophile priests always made national front page news. Paedophile teachers barely get a mention in local papers and appear regularly, if you're prepared to look. Few people question the habits of the teachers and accept that the schools will look after their children.

    At least in the case of the church something is being done about it.

  • 8 years ago

    Yes I do. Not to do so would mean calling my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ a liar, since He personally promised the leadership of the ONE Church He founded, "The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth", "Whatsoever you bind upon Earth is bound in Heaven", and "He who hears you hears Me". The fact that priests, like all human beings, are sinners doesn't say anything whatsoever about the divinely guaranteed teaching of His Church. I would much rather be in a Church of sinners with a divine guarantee of truth, than in an unauthorized manmade tradition of thousands of conflicting denominations, whose members are also all sinners, and who can't agree with one another on a single doctrinal issue - exactly the opposite of Christ's clearly stated will concerning His followers - "that they all may be ONE". Truth cannot conflict with truth, therefore conflicting beliefs/teachings necessarily mean false beliefs/teachings.

    As for the specific kind of sin you mentioned, the number of priests accused of such despicable crimes is less than 1%, and the number actually convicted is far lower than that - which happens to be just about the same as in the adult male population at large, and slightly lower than the rate among Protestant clergy. The only thing greater in cases involving priests is the amount of media coverage.

    Finally, you say "If you do not believe what I state is the truth, please go to this movie." Are you serious? You believe something just because you saw a "documentary" that was specifically designed to make you believe what the producers of the film wanted you to believe?

  • 8 years ago

    I believe in the hierarchy. In other words, I accept the organization of the Church. That does not mean that I think all the people in the hierarchy are doing a good job. For example, I believe in the office of pope, knowing full well that we have had bad popes.

  • 8 years ago

    We trust many in their positions and we distrust others. It's been corrupted. Most in that faith know that. Very political undertones as well. Many are leaving for that reason. Others are hoping for a change. And some don't care at all. Not many religions will make changes as needed as they are afraid others will call them out for change even if it's the right thing to do.

  • 8 years ago

    That's why I follow the word of God before the word of humans. God sent us leaders to guide us in His word, and if they do the opposite, I couldn't care less, cause I follow God's word. I find it disguisting how a priest could do such a thing, and that's why I don't rely on anyone but myself (through the help of God ofcourse) to help poeple who are in need. There's nothing I can do--or anyone can do to fix what happened and what is still happening. It is up to God, and God only to judge them. Jesus forgave his killers....shouldn't we forgive these sinners?

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Did you know that Baptists and Atheists also commit sex crimes? I met the parents of Holly Jones and she was raped and chopped up by an atheist. It was in fact the priest at her funeral who called her killer a monster.

    The good priests who help others are no more responsible for the sex crimes committed by monsters as attractive women who teach are all responsible and trying to cover up teacher-student affairs.

    Source(s): I'm a teacher and an attractive one at that. Some attractive teachers have had affairs with their students. But that doesn't make me responsible for someone else's actions or want to cover up any crime.
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