Victims of clerical sex abuse have reacted furiously to Pope Benedict’s claim yesterday that paedophilia wasn’t considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s.
In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.
“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.
“It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”
The Pope said abuse revelations in 2010 reached “an unimaginable dimension” which brought “humiliation” on the Church.
Asking how abuse exploded within the Church, the Pontiff called on senior clerics “to repair as much as possible the injustices that occurred” and to help victims heal through a better presentation of the Christian message.
And was Pope Benedict just discovering the depths of this depravity? Hardly.
The office led by Cardinal Ratzinger, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had actually been given authority over sexual abuse cases nearly 80 years earlier, in 1922, documents show and canon lawyers confirm. But for the two decades he was in charge of that office, the future pope never asserted that authority, failing to act even as the cases undermined the church’s credibility in the United States, Australia, Ireland and elsewhere.
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, an outspoken auxiliary bishop emeritus from Sydney, Australia, who attended the secret meeting in 2000, said that despite numerous warnings, top Vatican officials, including Benedict, took far longer to wake up to the abuse problems than many local bishops did.
And even after Pope Francis was elected, The Catholic Archbishop of Durban, Wilfrid Fox Napier, has described pedophilia as a psychological “illness, not a criminal condition”.
Is it just the Roman Catholic Church with this idea? Sadly, no.
The abuse continued for more than a decade, said Ms. Mackert, and all the while she was convinced it was her fault after years of being “indoctrinated” that women must submit to men.
“So from the onset of the sexual abuse from my father, it was very clear to me that I was a bad, evil person and I’d done something to cause my priestly father to do those things,” she said in the video, one of four broadcast in court on Wednesday. The rest will be presented as the hearings continue over the next two months.
“We were taught that a woman’s responsible for a man’s behaviour, sexually. If you dress in a way, tight clothing, clothing that shows your skin, and a man thinks evil thoughts, it’s the woman’s fault.”
Ms. Mackert was born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS. The FLDS is a breakaway sect of the mainstream Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago, and it is the sect linked to the isolated community of Bountiful, B.C.
It was the failed prosecution of two religious leaders of Bountiful that prompted the B.C. government to ask the court to examine whether Canada’s ban on multiple marriage is in accordance with guarantee of religious freedom in the Charter of Rights.
Outside court, Ms. Mackert said her experience wasn’t unusual among the polygamous families she knew, where women and children had no rights.
And another group, Children of God (COG):
The group’s liberal sexuality led to concerns and investigations regarding child abuse. The High Court of Justice, Family Division, in the UK found there to be “widespread sexual abuse of young children and teenagers by adult members of The Family”. However, information provided by former members casts doubts as to whether these investigations actually uncovered the truth. TFI leadership have repeatedly apologized for cases where children were abused before 1986, when policies were set in place prohibiting excessive discipline or any sexual contact between adults and minors. Those found to have abused children since 1986 have been excommunicated from TFI membership. Again, it is unclear to what extent these policies and excommunications have actually been implemented.
This last group even inspired a book, “Not Without My Sister”.
But are other “mainstream” Churches immune? Nope. Check out this Baptist minister.
A disgraced Indiana megachurch leader [Jack Shaap, 55] who seduced his teenage parishioner evidently told her Jesus wanted them to have sex.
As part of the government’s sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors this week released incriminating letters between Jack Schaap, the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Ind., and his teen victim.
“In our ‘fantasy talk,’ you have affectionately spoken of being ‘my wife,’” Schaap wrote in one letter, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “That is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants to marry us + become eternal lovers!”
And he’s not alone.
As many as 12 men affiliated with this church have been accused of sexual crimes all over the USA. And Baptist denominations are not acknowledging the problem any better than the Roman Catholic Church is. Here is an organization devoted to keeping track of Baptist predatory issues.
Other Christian denominations have similar problems, although many do try to weed the bad apples out.
Anglican theologian N. T. Wright states in Simply Christian that every society has one unforgivable sin. Many would argue that the unforgivable sin today is the sexual abuse of children.
Craig accepted God’s pardon for his unforgiveable sin through Christ. He has been living under grace since then, but he still struggles with the consequences of what he did. “No one ever grows up thinking they’re going to become a sex offender,” he says. “One of God’s greatest gifts is a child’s innocence. I live with the knowledge that I destroyed this in these girls’ lives.”
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Sex Offender Registry includes the names and locations of 549,000 persons convicted of or charged with sex crimes. The odds are that if you are reading this article, you have come into contact with a sex offender or a victim, whether you know it or not. This in itself may account for the emotionally charged responses to sex offenders.
“549,000 persons convicted of or charged with sex crimes.” And that’s only the ones who got caught. How high a number are out there?
What about Islamic clerics?
In Saudi Arabia an Islamic cleric who admits to raping, torturing and killing his daughter received a fine but no jail time for his heinous crime. Saudi media reports that the father paid 200,000 riyals ($50,000 US) in “blood money” for his crime, but will not be required to serve any time in prison.
. . . .
Fayhan al-Ghamdi, the victims father and a popular Islamic preacher who has made numerous television appearances promoting Islam, confessed to the heinous crime. Ghamdi told Saudi officials he used cables and a cane on his five-year-old daughter, leaving her with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns. In addition, one of Lama’s fingernails had been torn off. Hospital staff reports the child’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed.
Reports indicate the father had doubted his five-year old daughter’s virginity.
And another fatwa was announced “to prevent molestation”:
A Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa calling for all female infants to wear the burka, a full body cloak covering the face and body that is required to be worn by women in ultra-conservative Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia.
In issuing the fatwa, Sheikh Abdullah Daoud,claimed that wearing the burka will protect baby girls from being sexually molested. Daoud issued his fatwa while appearing in a TV interview on the Islamic Al-Majd TV.
Currently, according to conservative interpretations of Islamic law, girls are required to wear burkas once they reach puberty.
And Islam practices female genital mutilation. It used to be done on girls at puberty, now girls in infancy are victimized by it.
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
- The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
- Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.
- About 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
- FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
- In Africa an estimated 101 million girls 10 years old and above have undergone FGM.
- FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Why is this practiced?
The supporters, promoters, guardians and practitioners of FGM broaden their defence by claiming that FGM enhances fertility; controls and prevents waywardness of girls; makes a women faithful wife; excessive growth of clitoris (hypertrophy); clitoris is dangerous and hinders intercourse, creates impotency and kills baby at delivery; the normal genitalia of a women are ugly and disgusting and must be removed (Tahara). Socially, an uncircumcised women cannot be accepted as a serious and responsible adult unless she is operated. Their list is much longer.
And what happens to older girls who are raped?
According to the Qur’an, the penalty for fornication is 100 lashes:
Qur’an 24:2—The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.
A rape victim, in theory, will not be punished for being raped. However, under Sharia, it is almost impossible for a girl to prove that she has been raped. The Qur’an declares that a woman’s testimony is half as reliable as a man’s testimony (2:282), and accusations of sexual sin must be backed by four male witnesses (24:4, 13). Hence, the vast majority of rape victims won’t bother to report the rapes, as those who do are often charged with fornication or adultery. Moreover, those who do not report the rape sometimes become pregnant. Since Sharia won’t allow them to prove that they have been raped, the victims are then found guilty of fornication and sentenced to 100 lashes.
Keep in mind that 40 lashes will kill. This is 2 1/2 times that.
A 15-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex, court officials said.
The charges against the girl were brought against her last year after police investigated accusations that her stepfather had raped her and killed their baby. He is still to face trial.
Since Islam considers non-believers to be less than human, we find criminal rings in formerly Christian lands.
A teenager has told the Old Bailey a man carried out a brutal sexual assault to “prepare” her to be gang-raped.
The girl, who was 12 at the time, said Mohammed Karrar used sex toys and numbing cream used by dentists during the incident at an Oxford flat.
Sobbing during her evidence, she said five or six men then came to the flat and all raped her on the kitchen table.
Mr Karrar is one of nine men who deny a total of 51 offences including rape and trafficking from 2004 to 2012.
“The nine men, from Berkshire and Oxfordshire, are accused of sexually exploiting six girls, aged between 11 and 15.”
According to the report, headed Slaves to the Rhythm:
The bacha dancers are often abused children whose families have rejected them. Their â€˜owners’ or â€˜masters’ can be single or married men, who keep them in a form of sexual slavery, as concubines.
. . . . Large halls known as â€˜qush-khana’ provide the venues for bacha bazi parties where the boys’ â€˜owners’ or â€˜kaatah’ invite their friends to watch them dancing. Late in the night, when the dancing is over, the boys are often shared with close friends, for sexual abuse.
Allah Daad explained how the boys are enticed into the arrangement:
First we select boys in the village and later on we try to trick them into coming with us. Some of them stay with us for money; they get a monthly allowance, and in return we can have them any time we want. They don’t stay with us all the time – they can do their own jobs and then just come to parties with us.
Allah Dad’s current bacha, who is 16, refused to be interviewed. But another owner forced his 14-year-old boy to speak, although he would not give his name.
I was dancing last night. I have been doing this for the past year. I have no choice – I’m poor. My father is dead, and this is the only source of income for me and my family. I try to dance well, especially at huge parties. The men throw money at me, and then I gather it up. Sometimes they take me to the market and buy me nice clothes.
Said Baz Gul, a resident of Kunduz:
Bacha bazi has increased tremendously lately and is still on the rise. In the past, people were ashamed of it, and tried to hide it. Now nobody is shy about it, and they participate openly in these parties.
He explained that there were several reasons why the practice had become more common, one of which was the growing influence of local strongmen, who regard bacha baazi as status symbols.
It used to be that only a few people had boys. Now everyone owns one and the authorities don’t care about it at all. It’s got to the point where almost no party takes place without dancing boys. It’s seen as a disgrace if you don’t have dancing boys at your wedding. This has led to a rise in immoral behaviour among boys, and if nothing is done about it, this trend will continue.
For some, a bacha bereesh is a status symbol. Militia commanders and other men of substance buy and sell good-looking boys, using the bacha baazi parties as marketplaces.
And if this is going on, how much “traditional” sexual abuse is also happening? It seems to be fully as rampant in Islam as in the West.
And areas of the world where the State was the faith have also seen their share of problems. There is a group of young women survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking in Ukraine who have reverted to the Scythian Amazon model to regain a sense of security.
As long as women and children are considered “less than”; As long as women have no voice in their own lives; As long as men are “in charge”, this will continue to happen.
This is from the Muslim Brotherhood, in response to the United Nations, but it could just as easily come from the Roman Catholic Church, The Baptist Church, The Orthodox Jewish leaders or any other conservative religious group. These were their objections to the “Declaration to End Violence Against Women”:
A closer look at these articles reveals what decadence awaits our world, if we sign this document:
1. Granting girls full sexual freedom, as well as the freedom to decide their own gender and the gender of their partners (ie, choose to have normal or homo- sexual relationships), while raising the age of marriage.
2. Providing contraceptives for adolescent girls and training them to use those, while legalizing abortion to get rid of unwanted pregnancies, in the name of sexual and reproductive rights.
3. Granting equal rights to adulterous wives and illegitimate sons resulting from adulterous relationships.
4. Granting equal rights to homosexuals, and providing protection and respect for prostitutes.
5. Giving wives full rights to file legal complaints against husbands accusing them of rape or sexual harassment, obliging competent authorities to deal husbands punishments similar to those prescribed for raping or sexually harassing a stranger.
6. Equal inheritance (between men and women).
7. Replacing guardianship with partnership, and full sharing of roles within the family between men and women such as: spending, child care and home chores.
8. Full equality in marriage legislation such as: allowing Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, and abolition of polygamy, dowry, men taking charge of family spending, etc.
9. Removing the authority of divorce from husbands and placing it in the hands of judges, and sharing all property after divorce.
10. Cancelling the need for a husband’s consent in matters like: travel, work, or use of contraception.
He is correct. Giving women protection under the Law will remove any controls that they will have over us. Giving women protection under the Law will remove his right to abuse us, even kill us at his whim. And with protection for women comes protection for children of both genders.
And it’s about damn time.