02 January, 2010

Code Words in the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal - another reason for Bishops to stand and take responsibility for their past misdeeds in dealing with abusing priests

Another exchange worth noting from the threads of the Holy Post Blog (National Post)

by Outlaw_CA

Jan 02 2010
5:33 AM
AUGUST 23, 2007
Catholic Church Sex Abuse Crisis and Code Words
After many years of representing survivors of priest sexual abuse, I've come to recognize the various euphemisms or code words that the church has used to hide the sexual abuse perpetrated by its priests, nuns, and religious. These words are found in the internal church documents which are only available after long and difficult court battles with the church. Such words as particular friendship, indiscretion, abnormal relationship, overfamiliarity, unfortunate incidents, unacceptable behavior are code words for sexual abuse of minors. Even such words as alchoholism, depression, and stress have been used to cover up the underlying issue of sexual abuse. When I've examined the personnel records of these priests, I've found such terms as "on sabbatical", "on medical leave", "absent" or "further study" to describe why they aren't functioning as priests. Another way in which church officials avoid frank talk about sexual abuse problems is by using latin terms such as "stuprum" (sodomy), "De re turpi cum infantibus" (sexual abuse of minors), "Delictus contra naturam cum eodem sexu" (homosexual acts), and "mulier" for women.
These code words keep sexual abuse hidden and cloaked in the language of the church.
Source clergyabuse.clarislaw.com/secrecy-and-coverup-in-the-church


  1. Africans are beginning to reform their church. Many priests are breaking away and getting married and parishioners are following them. Africans set a very great store by the importance of an active sexual life as a part of mental, emotional and physical health.

    Uganda formed a new church just this week.

    I think they are on to something good.

  2. Honestly Father, I do not think that the exchange over at Holy Post was worth NOTING or even reading for that matter.

    The article was about the growth of Christianity in Africa, a generally delightful move of the Holy Spirit, which of itself is worthy of celebration.

    I personally have had the benefit of being administered the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Communion by a wonderfully Holy priest from Ghana when spending the winters in Tucson AZ. What a joy that the African nations are exporting their love of God to us here in the barren spiritual third world of North America.

    Clergy sexual abuse is stale news, not to those who have suffered from it, whether it was spiritual, sexual or emotional. I am tired of people, who themselves have never experienced sexual abuse like Outlaw_CA, high jacking post after post to deliver screed that is really about his inability to live quietly with his own unhappiness, and having to have a Church to blame for it.

    Wipe the dust off your sandals and leave those folks behind. This is a zero sum game, where the only loser is you, because they are setting you up for it.

    Outlaw_CA and his ilk, the allegedly intelligent screed deliverers are in need of your prayers and divine intervention. Your engagement only feeds their delusions.

    At least, that is what I think.

    Happy New Year, and God Bless You

  3. Happy New Year to you as well Michael!

    I appreciate your suggestion, but I'm afraid that I do not agree. It is by engaging those who speak ill of the Church (or religion in general) we both learn how to respond to their allegations as well as speaking to unknown numbers of others who browse the blog.

    For example, this exchange with O/C has helped me to do both. His arguments, though often replete with invective, usually include kernels of truth that we ignore at our own peril. I appreciate the opportunity to debate these points with him and trust that others will benefit as well.

    Besides, it is fun to engage in these debates! O/C is an engaging and intelligent mind who can and often does offer insights that I had never considered.

    Fr. Tim

  4. I appreciate and respect your thoughtfulness, Father.

    I just find most of the screed too challenging to deal with from the perspective of trying to figure out what the real issue is.

    An interesting piece about the church in Africa somehow morphs into priests and sexual abuse.

    I don't see people like O/C writing against the rampant sexual abuse of young people that happens in the alleged safety of their own homes, or on the streets. That's why I think it is a red herring and that the real objective is to criticize the Church, thereby taking the lazy way out of making acts of faith in something bigger than one's own self.

    May God continue to Bless you in your ministry to them.

  5. Happy New Year Fr.Tim!
    I took this situation to prayer. In the summer(2009) I spoke with a woman who's bother-in-law is a victim of the ex-Msgr.Bernard Prince. I did not ask for details, she only said he was one of victims of the now defrocked Msgr.Bernard Prince. The conversation came up because of the news headlines about the case against Msgr.Robert Borne. A few months later in late October, I saw this lady again and she told me that her bother-in-law's case was settled. I told her I was happy for her brother-in-law. Fr. Tim she said all the cases were settled of Bernard Prince. My question is to you. Do you know how much money the Diocese of Pembroke paid out to all the victims? Do you not think the parishioners of the Diocese of Pembroke should know how much money has been paid out? Why all the secrets? This only tells me that the church stills likes to cover up! I did not go looking for this information about the victims of Bernard Prince. I got to ask myself what in the world is the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me? I do pray for all involved. This clergy /pedophile thing is making me sick I guess it is just too close to home. Next, the Msgr.Borne case is just around the corner. I need prayers Father. Thanks for letting me rant. Lina

  6. Hello Anonymous: Happy New Year to you as well! I have no idea how many of the cases are settled, nor do I know how much money has been paid out in settlements. Sorry that I cannot be of help but the priests are as much in the dark about these matters as you are.
    I understand your feeling sick - I feel the same way about these matters. Everytime we as priests start to engage in any matter these days, we end up having to deal with people who accuse all priests of being abusers. Even worse is knowing that perhaps people that I have tried to serve to the best of my ability in my 20 yrs in the priesthood have been so grievously wounded by a predator priest. It is a sad tale all the way around for victims, faithful and clergy.
    I simply pray that we will eventually come out the other side of this "long lent" purified and ready to rebuild the Church here in the Pembroke Diocese.
    Thank you as well for your prayers. I need all the spiritual help and support that I can get!!!

    Fr. Tim


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