Put These Fuckers in Jail

TPM:

Today, Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report suspected child abuse by a priest. The diocese was similarly charged and also entered a not guilty plea. The indictment was returned by a Jackson County, Mo., grand jury and unsealed today.

Unlike so many of the sex abuse cases involving Catholic clergy, this is not an old case only now coming to light. The diocese and the bishop had received complaints about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan last year and last December found child pornography on his computer. They did not turn over the photos to police. In the meantime, they relieved Ratigan of his duties as a parish priest, but he remained in the diocese and attempted to take inappropriate photos of a 12-year-old girl. He was arrested in May.

Failure to report is a Class B misdemeanor in Kansas Class A misdemeanor in Missouri [pdf], with a maximum prison term of 6 months maximum prison term of one year. It’s too much to expect that he’ll get the max, but if Finn is convicted, I sure hope he gets to spend a few nights in stir.

Whenever I point out that money given to the Catholic Church goes to support child rape, I get a bunch of excuses (it happens everywhere that organizations deal with children, it was mainly in the past, not condoned by the leadership anymore, etc.)  This happened last Christmas, and the head man in charge was just indicted, not some flunky.  The next time any Catholics think about putting money into the collection plate, you might as well cut out the middleman and throw in a bottle of lube and some wet wipes.






115 replies
  1. 1

    Failure to report is a Class B misdemeanor in Kansas

    Too bad for him then that his Dicoese isn’t in Topeka, where they no longer prosecute misdemeanors.

  2. 2
    rikryah says:

    under.the.jail

  3. 3
    Julie says:

    @Cris (without an H): I was going to say exactly this. Good lord, Kansas.

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    What the fuck is the matter with Kansas?

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    Put this post together with ABL’s right before it, and you have a super-charged hypocrisy fuck up.

    Shorter Catholic powers that be: life is sacred and women have no choice and so what if we ruin some lives along the way?

    Dear Lord: more smiting please.

  6. 6
    MikeJ says:

    I’m sorry. It’s actually Missouri. We already knew it was a fucked up place.

  7. 7
    Joaquin M. says:

    wet wipes? what for?

  8. 8
    Dave C says:

    Moor award! Moore award!

  9. 9
    demkat620 says:

    @rikryah:

    As a lapsed catholic, this is why I left the church. Liars and pedophiles. Lock every last one of them up

  10. 10
    mistermix says:

    @MikeJ: Thanks, I fixed the post, and he could spend a year in stir. Even better.

  11. 11
    clawback says:

    Failure to report is a Class B misdemeanor in Kansas, with a maximum prison term of 6 months.

    Thank you for that fascinating tidbit. By the way, what kind of misdemeanor, and what is the maximum prison term, for failure to report in Missouri, where the crime occurred? Kansas City is actually in Missouri. Confusing, isn’t it?

  12. 12
    stormhit says:

    You don’t seem to have any idea of how the Catholic Church is actually structured.

  13. 13
    Glenda says:

    @demkat620:
    That is also why I left the church. Indeed, I could no longer give money to the church knowing that it might be used to defend this kind of slime. If the church would have taken a different stance on these jerks, I might not have left.

  14. 14
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @demkat620:

    Same boat, friend, same boat. Ok, not necessarily why I left the church, but definitely why I stay gone.

  15. 15
    BGinCHI says:

    @stormhit: Oh, well, that settles it then. Thanks.

  16. 16
    mistermix says:

    @clawback: There’s a KC Kansas, too, right across the river.

    @stormhit: Enlighten me. Is the bishop not the head man in charge of the diocese? Or is he a minor figure whose foray into concealment of child molestation is therefore irrelevant?

  17. 17
    Shinobi says:

    This is an appropriate time for this NSFW Tim Minchin Song.

    Catholicism sucks. My Aunt just threw the catechism at my gay cousin’s head, but she will gladly donate to kiddy rapists.

  18. 18
    Politically Lost says:

    you might as well cut out the middleman and throw in a bottle of lube and some wet wipes.

    So full of win. Stealing that as we speak.

  19. 19
    shortstop says:

    @clawback:

    Thank you for that fascinating tidbit. By the way, what kind of misdemeanor, and what is the maximum prison term, for failure to report in Missouri, where the crime occurred? Kansas City is actually in Missouri. Confusing, isn’t it?

    Bummer for you that mistermix’s earlier correction makes your snark attack so late and sad, but this still gives us an opportunity to point out that Kansas City is in both Missouri and Kansas. Enlightening, isn’t it?

  20. 20
    jayjaybear says:

    @Shinobi: This is the second time today that Tim Minchin has come up from two different sources, and I’ve never heard of him before this morning. I might need to check him out, with that kind of synchronicity.

  21. 21
    Ash Can says:

    Hooray. More of this, please.

  22. 22
    singfoom says:

    Being an atheist who thinks the Catholic church is a net source of bad at this point in time, I also strangely enough, worked for an Episcopalian Diocese for 3 years back in the day.

    I was a benefits administrator, and worked within the Diocesan center and very rarely went to an actual church. Even so, I had to have a full 8 hour “Child Sexual Abuse” Training in order for the insurance to be good on me.

    All employees did. Now, I know Episcopalian != Catholic, but I cannot imagine that they didn’t have something similar in this case.

    And the Bishop would immediately be informed of any priest in that much trouble.

    Put them in jail.

  23. 23
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @mistermix:

    Not to mention that the Vatican themselves, while maybe not involved in this specific case, has done their damnedest to quash a lot of the child abuse stuff to the point of a lot of projection and deflection. This attitude is endemic to the church right now.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    This vile piece of shit should be forced to orange suit perp walk wearing his mitre. Oh, and just to make the point to that Nazi asswipe in the Vatican, wearing Prada.

  25. 25
    stormhit says:

    @mistermix:

    I’m merely stating that it’s not difficult to localize any giving one chooses to do. Most people don’t ship off checks to Rome. I know people like to portray the Catholic Church as monolithic, but it really doesn’t function that way. Suggesting that giving anything to your local parish is just sending money to rapists is just being intentionally inflammatory for the sake of doing so.

    (and while I’m nominally a Catholic, none of this is offending me, just to be clear. I agree with throwing them in jail.)

  26. 26
    shortstop says:

    I dunno. I remember some guy here hotly assuring us that if we weren’t such towering bigots we could see that no churchly dudes other than the offending priests are complicit in this shit. All these internal transfers for offenders are just coincidences, and everything is open and transparent now, so feel free to leave your kids with these guys.

  27. 27
    joe says:

    Wow, it sure sucks that EVERY SINGLE Catholic member of the clergy is a pedophile. Hmm, what other sweeping generalizations can we come up with? It looks like black folks like to rob whiteys alot, Asians are oh-so supersmart and Hispanics? C’mon, someone jump right in! What’s the deal with Hispanics? Why do we hate them?

  28. 28
    Jewish Steel says:

    So remember to write on the memo line of your checks, “Not For Rapes.”

    Then it’s all cool.

  29. 29
    Shinobi says:

    @jayjaybear: I just saw him live last spring, he’s both funny and talented. Check out Rock and Roll Nerd, and Storm.

  30. 30
    mistermix says:

    @stormhit:

    Suggesting that giving anything to your local parish is just sending money to rapists is just being intentionally inflammatory for the sake of doing so.

    Bullshit. Every parish that’s not on the verge of failure sends money to the diocese. And, because the diocese will hide child rapists, as shown here, you’ll never know if your parish priest is a child rapist, so a good deal of your money might be going to support the fucking of children.

    That’s not inflammatory, it’s a simple statement of the obvious. Deal with it.

  31. 31
    shortstop says:

    Oh, there’s that hotly protesting guy now!

    @mistermix: This.

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @joe: No. not every priest is a paedophile. However, you can say that the Catholic church as an organization protects and harbours paedophiles.

    Fire up RICO and seize their assets.

  33. 33
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Would anyone really be surprised if it turned out that Pope Ratzinger was a child molester?

  34. 34
    Shinobi says:

    @stormhit: Actually the local parishes do give some of that money to their diocese and I”m sure some ends up back in Rome. There was a huge scandal in my home town a few years ago when they tried to close a church because it refused to give money to the diocese due to scandals.

    Recently my mother’s church had a huge fund raising drive to improve the school, and then they used it to build a retirement home. And yet, people still go there?

  35. 35
    John O says:

    @joe:

    Nah, just too many of them.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @joe:

    They may not all be pedophiles, but it’s looking more and more if you’re a bishop or higher, you actively seek to cover up pedophile priests.

    Either way, it’s unspeakably corrupt.

  37. 37
    Lizzy L says:

    I find your last sentence a little over the top.

    I would be happy, as an observant Catholic, to see Finn in jail. (Well, not happy, actually. But not sad, either.) There are a number of people in the church hierarchy, or who work or worked for it, who should be indicted, and perhaps should be jailed; maybe Finn will be the first.

    But you are wrong about where the money I put in the collection plate goes, in my parish, at least. The money I put in the collection goes to pay my pastor, who is a good man and deserves his very meager salary, it pays for lights and heat and communion wafers, it pays for St. Vincent de Paul, which feeds hungry people, for catechism classes, and so on. I know this because the Finance Committee in my parish provides all of us with a detailed report, every year.

    And yes, some of it probably pays for some stuff I don’t like, since I reject a number of my church’s stated political stances. But so does the money I pay in taxes. (I haven’t figured out a way to keep my tax money from paying for Newt Gingrich’s pension, for example, or John McCain’s health insurance.) If I want my parish church to remain open, I have to live with some of the collection plate money going for stuff I would prefer it not support: mostly stuff that’s required by the diocese.

    I don’t at all wish this thread to turn into Why Catholics Should (or Shouldn’t) Leave The Church, so I hope people will hold those comments.

  38. 38
    mistermix says:

    @joe: The leader of a diocese that serves 27 counties in Missouri — a man who is the spiritual leader of 143,000 Catholics — was just indicted for concealing a pedophile less than a year ago and this is the best you have?

  39. 39
    John O says:

    @MoeLarryAndJesus:

    I’d be surprised if Pope Nosferatu WASN’T a child molester. He’s got the Evil in his sunken eyes.

  40. 40
    John O says:

    @Lizzy L:

    Convert. Plenty to choose from. I say, “FSM.”

  41. 41
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @John O:

    I doubt he’s a child molester, but I have plenty of other reasons to be suspicious of Emperor Popeltine.

  42. 42
    BGinCHI says:

    Shorter Joe: Both sides do it!

    Seriously, man, it’s not an indictment of Catholicism wholesale, but of the structure of the church and its authority.

    You want to address their behavior?

  43. 43
    Emma says:

    @joe: Nice way of deflecting attention from the issue, Joe. It is a FACT that the Catholic hierarchy has engaged in systematic protection of pedophile priests, including trying to blame homosexuality for the problem. Those who have tried their best to deal with the problem have been marginalized if not downright kicked out. So, no, not all Catholics are pedophiles; but a hell of a lot of the hierarchy seem to be enablers.

  44. 44
    Menzies says:

    This is why I stick with the Jesuits and the Carmelites. Vows of poverty all around, emphasis on doing something beyond preaching with your life, and not much tolerance for the Vatican.

    If the rest of the Church could be more like them, men like the aforementioned priests would not be a problem. The Church would be much poorer materially, certainly, but in light of the above, I have a hard time seeing that as a bad thing.

  45. 45
    BGinCHI says:

    Jesus H Christ. Check this out. I give up.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/.....?track=rss

  46. 46
    John O says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Had he been a Priest at least he would’ve gotten some protection. Alas, only a “volunteer.”

  47. 47
    scav says:

    joe, like Abraham, pleads for Sodom because there may be ten righteous people there.

  48. 48
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Lizzy L:

    And yes, some of it probably pays for some stuff I don’t like, since I reject a number of my church’s stated political stances.

    Do you mean like enabling child rapists? Is that a political stance you reject?

    But so does the money I pay in taxes. (I haven’t figured out a way to keep my tax money from paying for Newt Gingrich’s pension, for example, or John McCain’s health insurance.)

    As a citizen of this country, you are obligated to pay various kinds of taxes. You are not obligated to be an observant Catholic who puts money in the collection plate.

    Try again.

  49. 49
    shortstop says:

    Oh, look, we’ve been through this discussion with joefromlowell 100 times here. He’s never, ever addressed the complicity of numerous dioceses in the continuance of epidemic child abuse. He can read about a case like this, he can read about 100 or 1,000 other cases worldwide in which priests were transferred to destroy children’s lives again, he can listen to people talk about the Christian Brothers’ systematic child rape machine in Australia and Ireland, and every single time, he puts his fingers in his ears and says, “The individual priests are responsible. No one else is.”

    This is just a terrible, terrible blind spot for someone whose need to hold onto his lifelong beliefs about his church supersedes any normal human desire to protect children from grave harm.

  50. 50
    shortstop says:

    @Menzies: Hate to rain on your parade, but I’ve personally known three Jebbies who were child molesters, despite their wonderfully progressive views on social justice.

  51. 51
    eemom says:

    @Lizzy L:

    I will just take the opportunity to compliment you on a nice, reasonable comment before this thread devolves into the inevitable shitstorm between Church haters and Church defenders.

    I regard the Catholic church as an evil institution, but I am sympathetic to the difficult position you are in as a decent practicing Catholic.

  52. 52
    Cat Lady says:

    I can’t see a priest without wanting to kick them in the nuts. The first thing I think of when I see one is “disgusting pervert”, and that’s their fault not mine.

  53. 53
    MikeJ says:

    @Lizzy L:

    If I want my parish church to remain open, I have to live with some of the collection plate money going for stuff I would prefer it not support: mostly stuff that’s required by the diocese

    Harbouring child molesters isn’t a policy difference. It is a criminal conspiracy to avoid prosecution for repeated violation of the law. The conspiracy could not exist without the explicit help and financing of the Catholic church.

  54. 54
    Reality Check says:

    Hey, so can we do Jews and Muslims next?

  55. 55
    singfoom says:

    A friendly reminder to all who might be tempted: DNFTT.

  56. 56
    opal says:

    @joe:

    Wow, it sure sucks that EVERY SINGLE Catholic member of the clergy is a pedophile

    “I don’t appreciate being called a rapist”

    Then stop raping.

  57. 57
    The Moar You Know says:

    Wow, it sure sucks that EVERY SINGLE Catholic member of the clergy is a pedophile.

    @joe from lowell: No one said that. But every Catholic who gives money to the church is supporting both the covering up of, and the legal defense of, those who are pedophiles.

    It’s your money, spend it how you like. Me, I couldn’t live with the knowledge that I’d helped a pedophile keep raping kids, or to escape justice, but that’s my own personal hang-up.

  58. 58

    @shortstop: Kansas City is in both Missouri and Kansas

    My whole family is from Kansas, and they’re all Royals and Chiefs fans. So I tend to forget that the majority of the KC metro is on the Missouri side.

  59. 59
    Reality Check says:

    So when are we going to say that Muslims are nutty, vicious suicide bombers? Or that Jews are sneaky bankers? Or that atheist are immoral, depressed nihilists?

  60. 60
    joshers says:

    @mistermix:
    By your logic, every American is guilty of aiding and abetting extra-judicial murder, torture, war, etc…

    You give money to the United States, you’re an accomplice. That taxes are obligatory is not a defense. You don’t have to live here, baby killer. Just a fact. Deal with it.

  61. 61
    Reality Check says:

    Every time you buy a beer, you’re aiding an organization that makes most of its profits from alcoholics.

  62. 62
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Cris (without an H):

    and they’re all Royals and Chiefs fans

    my deepest sympathies. esp the Royals part.

  63. 63
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik: Not picking on you snarxist, but where were you guys back in the 60’s and 70’s when we were having the baby jeebus beaten out of us? ’69, ’70… I went to school every day knowing only that my teacher, Sister Kathleen, was CRAZY… (My father was out of town, and my mother, who grew up Southern Baptist (a whole ‘nother set of crazy) had no idea) and MY ass was gettin’ a beatin’ every day.

    We did not take it up the ass, we just took it across the face every day. The whole thing left me prone to violence, a battle I fight most every day, and one I succeed against 59 out of 60 times (when I fail, it is against inanimate objects… not that that makes the people feel any better, or more secure)(6 yrs, my wife has yet to see that side of me, I pray she never will)(she is an angel)

    Some things never heal and the pathos going around today? Please….

  64. 64
    joes527 says:

    @mistermix: Did I miss when you posted your “don’t give money to mosques” rant? ‘Cuz there have been cases where that money ended up going to terrorists, so you can’t be sure that your $$ isn’t going to terrorists, so if you give money to mosques you are supporting terrorism!

    The broad brush. It paints so quickly!

  65. 65
    Bago says:

    @Reality Check: Truly making the most of a monastic tradition.

  66. 66
    gelfling545 says:

    @stormhit: Well, yes, except this isn’t happening in Rome. It’s happening in people’s local parishes right here in the good old USA; so when one contributes one is helping to support a system that is protecting child abusers.

  67. 67
    JPL says:

    @Reality Check: Well on that comment, I guess it’s beer time.

    The Catholic Church has tried to hide it’s crimes and for that they should be punished. I think everyone is in agreement.

  68. 68
    Sophia says:

    Bishop Finn is a profoundly odious man before one even accounts for his shameless and criminal disregard for victims of sexual abuse. It really couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. The lack of community support probably helped embolden the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. I hope he goes to jail, but I seriously doubt he will. It would be highly unusual for a first time misdemeanor offender to do any time. And I don’t see any of our local trial court judges having the nerve to sentence him to even a weekend of shock time. But I’d be very happy to see my taxes go to paying for his bologna and cheese sandwich.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    shortstop says:

    @gelfling545:

    Except this isn’t happening in Rome.

    Well, yeah, it’s happening there, too.

    It’s all a misunderstanding, though. He was just doing research for the job.

  71. 71
    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The school I went to had a few bad nuns but also had a really good monsignor who was able to recognize that fact and ship them off. I assumed they went to the home for bad nuns until my sister informed me otherwise. I was in my thirties when I found that out.

  72. 72
    MikeJ says:

    @joes527:

    Did I miss when you posted your “don’t give money to mosques” rant?

    Know what happens to Muslims who break US law?

  73. 73
    Reality Check says:

    @JPL:

    Oh, I think so. And being an atheist I have no dog in this fight. But it’s never been shown that the Catholic Church is demonstrably WORSE about covering up the crimes of its hierarchy than any other organization. Isn’t it the natural reaction of ANY large, hierarchical organization to protect its own members?

  74. 74
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    And for the third or fourth time in recent months, the Bishop is trying to hang the blame on his Vicar General, the most dangerous job, apparently, in the Catholic Church. In order to claim deniability, this bishop, like Rigali in Philadelphia and others, claims that he never really knew all the details of Father Ratigan’s behavior, he just had the VG take care of it and give him a little report. Just so you understand this particular guy, Finn is very PRO LIFE. So, he’s super concerned about children before they are born, not so much after they get here.

    I hope they get the socks sued off them. That would bother them every bit as much as a jail sentence.

  75. 75
    Jebediah says:

    @Reality Check:

    Isn’t it the natural reaction of ANY large, hierarchical organization to protect its own members?

    Name the other organizations that have systematically, and for as long, hidden and protected child molesters/rapists.
    Then fuck off.

  76. 76
    JPL says:

    @Reality Check: This!
    They should be held to a hire standard though. A parish is only as good as it’s leader just like other organizations.

  77. 77
    joe says:

    @mistermix:

    I’ve got nothing to say other than: your hatred of the church blinds you to the idiocy of your statements and the faultiness of your logic. I learned a long time ago that there is no point to arguing with racists and folks that are full of hatred against a particular group or organization, it’s really nothing more than mental masturbation. Thanks for reminding me why I stopped reading your posts a long time ago. Guess I should’ve just moved on by this one too.

  78. 78
    CarolDuhart says:

    @Reality Check: Networked, hierachical with no local accountability and a doctrine of celibacy. Other churches have problems, but they can simply fire a religious leader and the religious leader is on their own in finding a new home-no automatic transfers out of state or the country. There’s also no international hierarchy to defend them against charges either.

  79. 79
    Reality Check says:

    @Jebediah:

    Well, you can start here:

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2.....ignations/

    During the past five years, nearly half of Oregon teachers disciplined for sexual misconduct with a child left their school districts with confidential agreements. Most, like Cushing’s, promised to keep alleged abuse quiet. Some promised cash settlements, health insurance and letters of recommendation as incentives for a resignation. The practice is so widespread, school officials across the country call it “passing the trash.”

  80. 80
    shortstop says:

    @joe:

    I’ve got nothing to say other than: your hatred of the church blinds you to the idiocy of your statements and the faultiness of your logic.

    “And the stuff I really don’t have anything to say about, mistermix, is anything that you actually wrote. But I can ineffectively beat my own strawmen all night long.”

    Stop the bigotry! Rapists of children are people, too!

  81. 81
    Emrventures says:

    “The next time any Catholics think about putting money into the collection plate, you might as well cut out the middleman and throw in a bottle of lube and some wet wipes.”

    Are practicing Catholics no longer welcome at Balloon Juice? Are they fair game for belittlement based on their religious beliefs and identity? Not one myself, but this kind of sweeping language and collective guilt towards all members of a group reminds me of something we’ve seen recently and decried mightily on this site….hmm, I’m trying to recall what it was.

  82. 82
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    @Reality Check:

    Everytime you buy a beer you are aiding an organization that makes most of its money from alcoholics.

    Interesting. However, there are legitimate uses for alcohol, such as relaxation, it’s positive effect on the heart (in moderation). It was also very popular when water wasn’t potable for many centuries. Now, what, exactly, is the comparison between that and giving money to the Church when there is not accountablility as to whether that money will be used to defend lawsuits against child predators?

  83. 83
    Reality Check says:

    @Kathy in St. Louis:

    If anyone on the corporate board at Molson-Coors is ever caught molesting a child I’m willing to bet that they’re going to spend all they money they can defending him.

    Of course with a corporation its more likely to be something like insider trading or embezzlement, but my point stands.

  84. 84
    scav says:

    poor poor poor hard-line docrtinaire Catholics. Having to endure being made locally unwelcome by being exposed to mocking of their sacred and beloved hierarchy for failing to living up to its own codes and preening self-generated reputation as being the sole living font of all that is good and moral in the world for world without end, amen. What’s more? They’re being prosecuted, nay, persecuted before all other exemplars of wrong doing in the entire fucking world are dealt with first! Wicked, just wicked and just so so unfair.

  85. 85
    Reality Check says:

    Though after reading some of the bitter posts by (presumed) ex-Catholics I AM glad I grew up Episcopalian. I don’t believe in religion anymore but I don’t have any kind of burning animosity against the Episcopal Church!

  86. 86

    @joe:

    I’ve got nothing to say other than: your hatred of the church blinds you to the idiocy of your statements and the faultiness of your logic. I learned a long time ago that there is no point to arguing with racists and folks that are full of hatred against a particular group or organization, it’s really nothing more than mental masturbation.

    LOLWUT?

  87. 87
    gwangung says:

    Isn’t it the natural reaction of ANY large, hierarchical organization to protect its own members?

    If it’s set up by immoral people, yes.

    You lean Republican, right?

  88. 88
  89. 89
    Ecks says:

    @Reality Check: See e.g., for instance, the police. Notorious for beating the crap out of people, framing people, planting evidence, shooting innocent people, giving peaceful demonstrators a light dusting of the ol’ pepper spray, and almost never ever ever being prosecuted for it due to entrenched protection by the hierarchy.

    Boy I sure am glad I don’t pay any money to them. I’d hate to have to move to another country.

  90. 90
    Ecks says:

    @Kathy in St. Louis: You’re suggesting there are no legitimate uses for the catholic church? I mean, you’re really SERIOUSLY suggesting that?

    I’ve been into Catholic churches a total of about 6 times in my life, and even I can tell how spectacularly asinine that is.

  91. 91
    drkrick says:

    @Ecks:

    Boy I sure am glad I don’t pay any money to them [the police]. I’d hate to have to move to another country.

    You seem to have missed the difference between voluntary contributions and legally coerced ones. Money is fungible, as the examples of diocese that have closed churches, schools and the retirement homes of nuns (I believe the LA diocese has done all three) to pay off molestation settlements demonstrate. I’m sure that the people who thought they were contributing specifically to those institutions were thrilled to find out differently.

    I’d be interested in any example that can be offered of a similar internationally coordinated effort to knowingly cover up and protect child molesters while threatening punishment up to and including eternal damnation to any members of the organization who cooperate with legitimate law enforcement going back a century or more. Especially one run by an organization with the kind of coercive authority the Church brandishes over faithful Catholics.

  92. 92
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    @Ecks</@Ecks:

    Interesting interpretation of what I wrote. Actually I said nothing about the legitimacy of the Catholic Church per se, since I am a lifelong member of the Catholic Church, but rather that the person that I was answering comparing giving money to a beer company being a support of alcoholism and giving money to the Catholic Church when there is not much accountablity as to where the funds are being used and could be being used to defend some of these predators. Since I have been in a Catholic Church more than 6 times in my life, and since I have family in the religious life of my religion, I don’t think those two items are comparable. I want to make sure that no money that I ever give my religion isn’t being siphoned off and paid to a lot of defense attorneys to get child predators off. Sorry if that sounds spectaularly asinine to you. Have a truly charming evening.

  93. 93
    Friday's child says:

    By the way, Mister Mix, the money in the collection plate goes to the support of the parish and its programs, only money raised through occasional and special collections goes to the diocese.

  94. 94
    WereBear says:

    I had the most formative religious moments of my youth, good and bad, in the Southern Baptist church.

    I left them in my teens when their rampant contempt for women became evident, then inescapable. They were not good enough to be ministers, as professionals they were suspect, and at all times they were expected to shut up and do the scut work.

    That’s not even a widespread conspiracy to abuse children and cover it up. But it was enough.

  95. 95
    burnspbesq says:

    The next time any Catholics think about putting money into the collection plate, you might as well cut out the middleman and throw in a bottle of lube and some wet wipes.

    Go fuck yourself, bigot.

  96. 96
    burnspbesq says:

    @Kathy in St. Louis:

    I want to make sure that no money that I ever give my religion isn’t being siphoned off and paid to a lot of defense attorneys to get child predators off.

    In tonight’s performance of Alice in Wonderland, the role of the Queen of Hearts will be played by Kathy in St. Louis.

    In case you’ve forgotten, this is America, and criminal defendants have a right to counsel. Because, amazingly enough, some criminal defendants are not actually guilty of the crimes with which they are charged.

    I understand the pedophilia is so viscerally affecting that people who should know better put their principles on hold when the subject comes up, but I don’t have to accept that or condone it.

  97. 97
    deep cap says:

    I’m sorry. I’m not sure I’m on Balloon-Juice any more I seem to have stumbled upon some right-wing hate site.

    So lets sum up then?

    Wow, it sure sucks that EVERY SINGLE Catholic member of the clergy is a pedophile.

    (Answer: no, EVERY SINGLE BISHOP is a criminal conspirator.)

    Wow, really? Every bishop is a conspirator? Every grandmother who tearfully wishes her grandchildren well when they go through confirmation? Everyone?

    EVERYONE?

    Your bigotry is disgusting for someone who considers themselves progressive.

    I fully agree that any pedofile and bishop who covers up the crimes of the pedofile should be prosecuted so shut up with the “oh jeez, you must love pedofiles” crap.

    I’m really disappointed.

  98. 98
    Jebediah says:

    @deep cap:
    They let grandmothers be bishops now?

    EDIT: No one is claiming that every clergy member is a pedophile. The truth is that the Catholic Church does contain many pedophiles, and has a long history of hiding and protecting them . You may not like that, but it’s reality. Deal with it however you choose.

  99. 99
    master c says:

    deep cap: wah?
    Maybe I dont get it. Every progressive bone in the church has been snapped.
    The last few popes have done nothing but push these problems around.
    Catholics laid down with evangelical right wing lifers and here we are.
    Im dyed in the wool C and all this is so sad and terrible and I hate the church for not allowing priests to marry and women to be priests.

  100. 100
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @deep cap:

    I fully agree that any pedofile and bishop who covers up the crimes of the pedofile should be prosecuted

    In other words, you disagree with the Catholic Church. Isn’t that being rather reckless with your immortal soul?

    @burnspbesq:

    In case you’ve forgotten, this is America, and criminal defendants have a right to counsel.

    So let the defendants use their own money or just get a public defender.

    The Catholic Church supports child rapists. I’m sorry if that simple and obvious fact distresses you, but deal with it.

  101. 101
    badpoetry says:

    I was born and raised Catholic. I recognize that the Catholic Church does a lot of good in the world.

    I once had a very wise friend tell me, astutely, that if you go to the very worst places in the world and find someone there who is working hard to make things better, the odds are good that this person is a Catholic missionary. No amount of evil behavior on the parts of others in the Church invalidates the extraordinary good that these people do.

    That said… I cannot tolerate the systemic corruption that allows the child abuse and cover ups to continue in this way. So, I am now an Episcopalian, and I am hoping to support their efforts to do good around the world.

    I did find mistermix’s last line to be tasteless and over the top, because the broadness of the insult impugns a lot of truly good (self-sacrificing-for-the-sake-of-the-least-among-us kind of good) people, and that’s not fair.

    But unfair hyperbole aside, his point is still valid. Organizationally and structurally, the Catholic Church is tragically corrupt. I will pray for true reform, but I’m not holding my breath, and I won’t ever go back. (The Episcopal Church I joined abounds with women priests and openly gay employees, which is a complete joy for me. As I said, I ain’t never going back).

  102. 102
    No one of importance says:

    @deep cap:

    I’m really disappointed.

    No one cares.

  103. 103
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq:

    In case you’ve forgotten, this is America, and criminal defendants have a right to counsel. Because, amazingly enough, some criminal defendants are not actually guilty of the crimes with which they are charged.

    I must have missed the part where Kathy announced or even implied that criminal defendants no longer have a right to counsel.

    What in your vision of “America” requires Kathy to pay for private counsel through voluntary donations to a private organization?

    I understand the pedophilia is so viscerally affecting that people who should know better put their principles on hold when the subject comes up, but I don’t have to accept that or condone it.

    I understand that your religious defensiveness is making you, an officer of the court (!), a little confused about the difference between the principles of our justice system and someone’s private principles regarding whom she chooses to financially support. If Kathy had said that these men shouldn’t have trials, your horror would be fully warranted. As it is, you’re just raving about her refusing to pay for it.

  104. 104
    William Hurley says:

    The fact that the Catholic Church is still allowed to keep the doors open is a testament to a) political and prosecutorial cowardice and b) the triumph of faith over reason.

    Were it General Electric that had aided, abetted and protected thousands of child rapists, assorted pedophiles and pathologically violent child abusers the company would have been shuttered decades ago and both Jack Welch and Jeff Immelt jailed until their last breath.

    It’s time to rescind tax-free status for any and all religious organizations. The monies collected may appear sizable but would pale in comparison to the costs of repairing the damage done.

  105. 105
    Gretchen says:

    I live in Kansas City, and took my children to a parish where two of the priests were accused of sexual abuse. One went to jail, while the other had relations with someone who was of age, so was merely sent away.
    My son was sexually abused by s slightly-older neighbor kid, and is still not really functioning because of the trauma. I can’t imagine how much worse he would be if he had been abused by the trusted authority figures of the priests that I unknowingly exposed him to. This behavior has destroyed the lives of many young, innocent people who have a hard, or impossible way back. I have no sympathy, at all, at all, for anyone who didn’t do everything possible to keep young people from being destroyed forever.

  106. 106
    Darkrose says:

    @badpoetry: Good for you, and I’m not being sarcastic. The Roman Catholic Church is actively trying to shore up membership by telling the bigots in the Anglican Communion that they’re more than welcome in Rome; I’ve long thought that the Episcopal Church should start telling progressive Catholics to come on over.

  107. 107
    eemom says:

    @Gretchen:

    in that case how did you manage to not “do everything possible” to prevent your child from being abused by a “slightly older neighborhood kid”?

  108. 108
    Chet says:

    @WereBear: Assuming said misogyny is (mostly) tacit rather than overt, you’ve described my own childhood denomination (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) to a “t”.

  109. 109
    MacKenna says:

    @joe:

    The problem is systemic. CAN’T YOU SEE THAT YET?

    Or are you really going to go with a literal “few bad apples”.

    Give that a rest for fuck’s sake. Pope Benedict wrote an entire policy protecting pedophiles you moron.

  110. 110
    TenguPhule says:

    I haven’t figured out a way to keep my tax money from paying for Newt Gingrich’s pension, for example, or John McCain’s health insurance.

    You send it to the CIA black budget that removes assholes like them.

  111. 111
    TenguPhule says:

    once had a very wise friend tell me, astutely, that if you go to the very worst places in the world and find someone there who is working hard to make things better, the odds are good that this person is a Catholic missionary.

    Actually, more like Doctors without borders or a hundred other organizations.

    Odds are where Catholic Missionaries past and present have gone, death and rapine followed.

  112. 112
    TenguPhule says:

    Are they fair game for belittlement based on their religious beliefs and identity?

    Yes. Everyone is an equal opportunity target here at Balloon Juice. We rag on everyone equally here. But we rag on some more equally then others.

  113. 113
    TenguPhule says:

    But it’s never been shown that the Catholic Church is demonstrably WORSE about covering up the crimes of its hierarchy than any other organization.

    They didn’t bother to cover them up for most of their history. Only in the last hundred years or so. Before that, it was considered “Gods Work”.

    The Catholic Church has a dark and ugly history. They live like kings on the generations of crimes of the past.

  114. 114

    […] but of course he must be punished for not throwing one of his priests to the wolves fast enough. (Here‘s a guy who seems to know all the […]

  115. 115
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    I love that there are so many little folks on this thread who see criticism of the Catholic Church’s collusion with child predators as an indictment of the entire religion. One smarmy clod above actually reminded me that in America the accused have a right to legal representation when I stated that I didn’t wish to see my contributions used for their defense.

    Well, now I see the light. I guess I need to be sending contributions to the Father Ratigan Defense Fund since he’s entitled to the best possible defense. Of course, I would suppose that since this guy totally disobeyed not only his vows as a Catholic priest, but also the laws of a civilized nation, I shouldn’t feel too guilty for not wanting to contribute to his defense. If Bishop Finn thought this was all a-ok and that there was no reason to get this man out of parish service, I suggest that he take up a collection at the next Bishops’ Conference to defend Ratigan. Perhaps burnspesq can make this one of his pet projects.

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