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The political and news blogs were alerted yesterday by Rod Dreher that the Dallas Morning News will be running a major story starting Sunday. You can go over to Bettnet for the heads-up from Rod. Warning - the connection might be a little slow or flaky - he's been getting lots of traffic on this item.
This is not a news blog. I do not plan to post a bunch of stuff about this. But for today, I have a few musings that I want to share.
This morning on NPR's Morning Edition was an interview with the reporters from the DMN. It runs in the second hour of the program stream in the first segment (between 6-620 and 8 to 820 Eastern time) if you want to try to wait for it.
It is more about 'the scandal'. Apparantly the reported have found that not only the US bishops but the powers that be among various religious orders have been engaged in the same sorts of behaviors. Persons accused or convicted of engaging in sexual exploitation have been shuffled from one place to another. From listening to the NPR interview, it seems that the news in this is the international scope of the shell game. The Salesian order was particularly accused, maybe because their particular focus has always been on youth evangelization. Don Bosco and Domenic Savio were always pictured with crowds of boys and young men following them around.
Side note - the Salesian sisters have a beata whose story includes fighting off sexual abuse from her mother's live-in lover, who died from the injuries rec'd in the struggle.
Anyhow, I wonder why I am not more surprised or shocked. I really am not. I guess that I have thought all along that the problem has been more deeply embedded and harder to fight. Sexual exploitation of the powerless has been a human sin and a problem since the Fall, I think. One has only to really read the Old Testament.
It is truly scandalous that priests were not outed and disciplined as it happened. But I think the more significant scandal is that we have reached a point where we call all kinds of sin (including sexual)good, and that is across the board. The public focus has been on the sins of priests, and maybe that is understandable, because in addition to the sexual sins there is also the sin of scandal. Still, it remains a sad truth that the most common sexual sins against the young are committed by family members - not by priests, not by teachers, not by scout leaders, or youth ministers, or strangers in the park. Sexual abuse from fathers, grandfathers, uncles, big brothers - rarely by women (though it does happen) is still (and sadly) predominant.
I have to wonder how much of the anger (justified, let me say) at priests who break their vows and become sexual exploiters is actually also a reaction to other forms of sexual abuse. There are many survivors who have not and will not speak out of their personal struggles from being molested by family members. Abuse survivors may well believe that they are powerless to stop the abuser in their personal life, but that getting active in one way or another to stop abusive priests may expiate in some way the complex feelings of guilt and anger stemming from their own trauma.
I also have to wonder how many of these abusers were themselves abused in the name of 'love'.
Addendum - the Salesian beata is Blessed Laura Vicuna
Here is the link to the NPR item

2 Comments

Nice post. Id only make one slight change, in the wording of "rarely" from women. While its true the number of men abusers is much, much higher, Ive read reports that suggest the number of women abusers is also growing (i.e. Iraq?) and that part of the problem is that often sexual abuse from a woman has often gone under a different heading i.e. seduced, etc. Have I ever told you that Im a regular reader? Keep up the great job!

Side note - the Salesian sisters have a beati whose story includes fighting off sexual abuse from her mother's live-in lover, who died from the injuries rec'd in the struggle.

Interesting, do you have the beata's (?) name?

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on June 18, 2004 7:36 AM.

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