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Priest Sexual Abuse & the Silence of the Lambs

March 26, 2010

I thought I’d grown a bit numb to the years’ long unfolding of the pedophiles masquerading as priests in the Catholic Church. Incredulity and shock, then moral outrage gradually gives way over time to horrible acceptance and the hope for some measure of justice.  But this week my outrage returned.  I was dumbfounded that  the Vatican(including the current Pope Benedict XVI) didn’t defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, despite the repeated warnings from American bishops that failure to do so could “embarrass the church.” OMG–embarrass the church?  Please–what about the lives of the innocent and their families?

Then I learned that this Wisconsin priest, the Reverend Lawrence C. Murphy wasn’t even defrocked–much less served time.  What was his punishment? Enroll him in psychiatric treatment, and five days later transfer him and return him to “pastoral duties.”  In fairness to the era…I wondered, what was known about the efficacy of psychiatric treatment?  So I went on Medline and found a meta-analysis of sex offender treatment studies from 1970-1990.  The results? With treatment (hormonal or behavioral), offender behavior was reduced by 30%. Jail or castration (hormonal or otherwise) were a lot more effective.

The Vatican can never restore the lives of those boys, but the first part of healing is owning up to its own culpability, its denial, its collusion and self-serving protection of the Church. Some Church supporters believe protestors are just in it because they’re  anti-Pope, or anti-Church.  How about being anti-injustice? The silence of the lambs is deafening.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    March 26, 2010 2:33 pm

    I am in full agreement – thank you stating my exact thoughts so clearly. diane

  2. March 26, 2010 2:39 pm

    I appreciate your comment, Diane. I hope I’m speaking for many. Best,B.

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