Columns Opinion Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

Four things the church must do to respond to sex abuse

Catherine Coleman Murphy, center, and Jack Wintermyer, right, protest along with others outside Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul before an Ash Wednesday Mass in Philadelphia on March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(RNS) — People are not satisfied that the Catholic Church has vigorously responded to the sex abuse crisis. After seeing the crisis covered in The Boston Globe and elsewhere since at least 2002, they are surprised to see reports once again in the media.

What does the church need to do to get its house in order and satisfy its critics?

First, the church must deal with abusive priests and protect children. Since 2002, the church has had in place policies and procedures to protect children and deal with bad priests. These policies and procedures can always be improved, but they are not bad.

It should be noted that of the 300 priests described as abusers in the recently released Pennsylvania grand jury report, only two are accused of abusing within the last 10 years. All the other cases are decades old. About half of the 300 priests are dead. None are in ministry.

Today, every priest and seminarian (and every church employee or volunteer who works with children) must go through a police background check. And if anyone is accused of abuse, that person must be reported to the police.

Here in California where I am writing this column, if I know of an abuse and do not report it to the police, I commit a felony and will go to jail. Even where this is not state law, the U.S. bishops now require reporting all allegations to the police.

Since 2002, church rules also require that any priest with a credible accusation of abuse must be suspended from ministry while a complete investigation takes place. The findings of the investigation must go to a diocesan review board, which includes lay membership. If he is found guilty of abuse, he can never act as a priest again. This is important because most abusive priests are protected from prosecution by the statute of limitations.

The church must act if the police cannot. Policies and procedures for dealing with bad priests are in place, but we must be sure that the bishops enforce them here in the United States and around the world.

Bishops listen as Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory speaks during a Mass to repent clergy sexual abuse and to pray for molestation victims, on June 14, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The second thing the church must do is hold accountable bishops who do not enforce these procedures, who do not protect children. This is the sole responsibility of the pope.

Earlier this year, I would have said that Pope Francis did not understand this. During his trip to Chile in January, the pope defended the bishops against accusations of cover-up from survivors of abuse. He later admitted he was wrong and apologized. He acknowledged the cover-up and demanded that all the Chilean bishops submit their resignations. This sent a message to every bishop in the world that he had better deal properly with abuse or he is going to hear from the pope.

But the pope’s response so far has been ad hoc. He needs to establish policies and procedures and a special office in the Vatican to investigate complaints against bishops, as was recommended by the pope’s own Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2015. This office has to be headed by someone with credibility and expertise. Lay people, not just other bishops, need to be involved in this review.

If a bishop is guilty of not protecting children from abuse, he should lose his job. What about the American bishops? Should they resign?

The problem with punishing the current crop of bishops is that most of them were not involved in the cover-up. Practically all the bishops who failed in their job of protecting minors are dead or retired. They should have been dealt with decades ago.

Third, the bishops need to fulfill their pastoral duty by reaching out and doing all they can to help survivors of abuse. Every bishop should announce that he is willing to meet with any victim of abuse who wants such a meeting.

Bishops made a huge mistake following the advice of their lawyers and insurance companies who told them not to meet with victims and their families.   Many survivors say that the hurt from not being listened to, not being believed, and being stonewalled was just as bad as the abuse itself.

Allowing the survivors to tell their stories is essential to their healing. It will also allow them to tell the church what else it can do to help in their healing.

Each diocese also needs to set up a compensation fund to help survivors who cannot sue because the abuse is outside the statute of limitations. This should be a nonadversarial process run by people independent of the diocese so victims get all the money rather than having lawyers get 40 percent of the award.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Aug. 14, 2018. A Pennsylvania grand jury’s investigation of clergy sexual abuse identified more than 1,000 child victims.  The people seated were some of those affected by the clergy abuse. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The fourth thing the bishops must do is be completely open and transparent about the abuse that took place in their dioceses.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report is a wake-up call to every diocese in the country. Each must make a full disclosure of past abuse before anyone is going to believe they have this problem under control. The dioceses need to disclose the names of every priest with credible accusations of abuse. Together with his name should be a description of the accusation, when and where the alleged abuse took place, when the diocese learned about it, what the bishop did and where the priest is now if he has not been kicked out of the priesthood.

This report, of course, would have to be done by a credible person, not a cleric or church employee. Perhaps it should be a retired police or FBI investigator, a former prosecutor or a retired judge. Unless the dioceses commit to such complete and transparent reporting of all past abuse, we will continue to see more and more reports like that of the Pennsylvania grand jury. They will dribble out for years and years to come, giving the impression that the church has done nothing to improve things.

But this reporting cannot end in the United States. The Vatican needs to report its part in this human tragedy. Who knew what, and when? What did they do? The Vatican has no interest in such disclosures. Only Francis can make it happen.

Pope Francis and the Vatican talk about the importance of confession. The church should practice what it preaches by confessing its sins in greater specificity, doing penance and committing to never letting this happen again.

What would be appropriate penance? In his recent letter, the pope recommends prayer and fasting. These are traditional penances, but I think we need to be more creative. We should begin by asking the survivors what they think would be an appropriate penance. Certainly, a lot of fat clerics could benefit from fasting. Perhaps we should bring back “sackcloth and ashes,” which was another traditional penance for serious sins. Or a bishop could spend Lent on the street as a homeless person. Or he could spend Lent working in a shelter for abused women.

The bishops need to do something serious, dramatic and appropriate to the crime. It does not have to be for the bishop’s sins; it could be for the sins of his predecessors. Each part of the church needs to fulfill its responsibility in responding to abuse: Bishops need to protect children and deal with abusive priests, the pope needs to hold bishops accountable if they do not protect children, bishops need to reach out to and help survivors of abuse in their dioceses, and bishops and the pope need to give a transparent and credible accounting of past and current abuses and the church’s response.

It will take time to heal the church from this great self-inflicted wound, just as it will take time for the victims of abuse to heal. The process is painful for both, but the church can be inspired by the courage of the survivors of abuse who are showing the way.

The church can’t afford to ignore or postpone these steps. The confidence and trust of a rising generation have already been badly shaken. Recovering that trust might be possible, but only if we take our medicine.

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

98 Comments

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  • Well, one of the things Catholic parishioners could do is to get up, get out, and go to a mega-church instead where the music is louder, the founding pastor is liable to be wandering around the platform in blue jeans (he can because he sorta owns the place), and 80% of the attenders are Trumpees. Uh, no, I’m being sarcastic. Don’t really do that.

    Or, parishioners could decide to go Islamic where there is a ton of “God”, but no Jesus to touch anyone’s heart. Nah, don’t do that either.

    Or, the Catholic Church could decide to put its nuns in the oversight positions of Bishop and Cardinal, instead of men? THAT would be world news announcing that real change has taken place, no?

  • This reminds me of Spotlight where people downplayed the seriousness of the problem in Boston and the priests weren’t arrested by the police or charged by prosecutors. It was a web of silence. Everyone knew and did nothing about it. People are cowardly and aren’t willing to stand up and fight if it makes their lives uncomfortable. The same with Weinstein’s crime. They were making “funny” industry jokes about it at the Oscars in 2013. People were willing to turn a blind eye because they knew Weinstein would ruin their careers otherwise.

  • Since most Catholic parishioners have decent pastors, and good bishops, the odds that they will get up, get out, and go to a mega-church do not appear to be high.

    You, on the other hand, appear to be higher than a kite.

  • You are trying to give a cheap excuse that works well with bigoted Bible thumping modes of avoiding reality.

    Blame it on a group you already despise and treat as less than human. Deliberately overlook your own lack of desire to confront religious authority.

    The honest response has nothing to do with your entirely canned scapegoating. Obviously it is the script apologists are going with despite being malicious hogwash.

    The church didn’t cover up sexual abuse and obstruct justice because some of them are allegedly gay. (Pedophiles and homosexuals are not synonymous or even related, but lazy bigots like you aren’t interested in facts anyway). The church did it here, like they do with a host of unrelated scandals, because they consider themselves above the law and above concern for others.

    You are nothing but an apologist for the church trying to aid in systematic abuse and covering up. A scumbag looking for an easy target to blame. If you believe in a hell, expect to be there in your future.

  • Moral understanding do not involve looking for cheap scapegoats and deliberately lying to excuse criminal and immoral behavior. Yet that is what you are doing here. Obviously you are a poor judge of what moral teachings are important.

    The church acted badly because it always does when it feels above the law or consideration. As it has in tons of other unrelated scandals. The sin here is arrogance and pride. In your self righteous bigotry, you condemn others for actions you are endorsing.

    As long as you look for cheap scapegoats rather than address the real problem, you are as immoral and repugnant than those abusers or the church which abetted them.

  • Yes your type are an abusive lot. By all means feel offended that I took your bigoted lazy scapegoating and threw it back at you for the immoral garbage it is.

  • Interestingly there was a veiled reference to Weinstein shenanigans as early as 1999. In the short lived comedy series Action! The show was cancelled before the specific episodes aired (but were seen in cable rerun and DVD)

  • Thank you for this outstanding recommendation.
    See the good SPOTLIGHT II has done
    in uncovering and sharing decades of sin by Catholic clergy! Grand jury investigstions are needed for all dioceses.
    JUSTICE for the many thousands of victims is needed…that translates to ACTIONS not more mea culpas from USCCB and Rome

  • There is lot of veiled references to some of these guys. There was also a veiled reference to Charlie Rose in a movie. And Family Guy had an unfunny joke about Stewie escaping from Kevin Spacey’s basement in 2005.

  • As an atheist and anti-religious, obviously you are a poor judge of what moral teachings are important.

  • You are trying to give a cheap excuse that works well with bigoted atheist braying modes of avoiding reality.

  • Yes, more lynchings and more beatings are definitely called for.

    And all those prosecuting attorneys hoping to enhance their political aspirations by grand stunts have to be facilitated.

  • Who are the scapegoats you refer to? I’d love for you to define them.
    Could it be those that perpetuated the man on man or man on boy incidents.
    You can’t solve the problem if you don’t have the courage to call out those who committed the actual offenses.
    You’re like the guy who’s friend is a drug addict but you keep blaming everyone around him for his behavior. Everyone but him and the drug.

  • The catholic priesthood has been a attraction for homosexuals for a very long time. No way they are going to be able to eliminate it. This is a homosexual-pediphile issue.

  • You are blaming gays in their entirety for the scandal. Your view: It’s not the fault of the church’s organization, it is well placed gays committing abuse and covering for them. What a load of hateful lazy garbage.

    Engaging in one of the most often used hateful libels of equating them with pedophiles.

    You are lazy immoral slime looking for an easy victim to hang blame on rather than examine your own culture of deference to arbitrary religious authority and acting badly to others in the name of a church.

    You aren’t interested in addressing the issue like a moral and rational person. You just want a pretext to attack others.

  • Statistics from the Pennsylvania grand jury report back this … : Nearly three-quarters of the offending priests were homosexual; over three-quarters of the abusive priests were pederasts and of those, one fifth (21%) chose adolescent girls as their victims while four-fifths (79%) chose adolescent boys.

    Last week Brad Miner, Senior Editor of The Catholic Thing, and attorney and international child rights advocate Liz Yore made it clear on EWTN’s The World Over that the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis is directly linked to homosexuality. “Largely it’s not a pedophile crisis,” Yore said. “We know from the John Jay report, 81-percent of the victims were males, mostly teens. And we know because our subclass of predators are all male, this is a male-on-male crime, and primarily with teens between the ages of 14 to 17. Those are the victims.”

  • I’m sorry, we’re you expecting the “big gay conspiracy” to be taken seriously? Who were you kidding.

    No, pedophiles are not homosexual if they attack same sex victims.
    You lying bigoted scumbag. Anti gay pundits have been using that libel for ages. Homosexuals are attracted to adults. Just like heterosexuals are. You don’t feel attracted to adolescent girls, right? You know that already and it’s been pointed out to you numerous times. But you continue the lie. Because you are lazy and hateful.

    Plus none of your bullcrap covers the systematic cover up, going all the way back to the Vatican for close to a century in some cases. 70 years here.

    What bigoted scumbag apologists fail to note here is that the behavior by the church here of obstruction of justice and hostility to victims of their staff, has been standard operating procedure for a host of unrelated scandals.

    You can’t blame “the gays” for church involvement with slave labor, human trafficking, harboring international fugitives, ethnic cleansing, mass murder or entanglement with brutal dictatorship.

    But they acted the same way there too. Cover up, move offenders out of jurisdictions, obstruct criminal investigation, withholding evidence for civil suits, failing to disclose acts to authorities, using influence to frustrate investigations….

    So pardon me if I can’t possibly take your clearly scripted apologetic garbage seriously. Any offense heaped upon you for this garbage is well deserved. You really set the bar for supporting immoral garbage in service if religion.

  • Ummm… just citing reports and facts. Isn’t that what we should be doing to address the problem.
    Or let’s just put our heads in the sand.

  • Um, your assumption is that pedophiles who go after same sex victims = homosexuals.

    So that means, as a heterosexual you are claiming to be attracted to adolescent girls? Curious how that works.

    You are putting your head somewhere. Sand would be far more polite than I was willing to go here.

  • That must be it. Condoning the homosexual agenda, which doesn’t exist, but speaking forcefully against gay participating fully in society as gay people, or gay rights, which is the entirety of the homosexual agenda.

  • Actually, have exactly backwards . Pretending that it is a homosexual problem and not a catholic problem is exactly what has insured the continuing scandal.

  • Anyone who has read more than a couple dozen of your posts, or stops by and browses at JoeMyGod, can only giggle at “the homosexual agenda, which doesn’t exist”.

  • Truth is truth Bob…Spotlight II exposed hundreds of ordained Catholic perpetrators in Pennsylvania and will expose ordained enablers too.
    Justice will finally be given to victins/survivors!
    The much needed Pennsylvania expose is only the tip of this disgraceful iceberg…more states to follow suit.
    Stay tuned…

  • Boycott with your hard earned money! Don’t be a lemming laity member. Look to SPOTLIGHT II to expose ordained Catholic enablers too!

  • What are “victins”?

    In any case there is something required – due process.

    It is required both in civil law and in Canon Law.

    The Pennsylvania exposé is not the result of due process.

    The accused could not confront accusers, rebuttal was not permitted, no verification of the sanity of accusers was made.

    While I don’t doubt that some facts are contained, it is at least as much political circus by an ambitious prosecuting attorney as fair assessment.

    Let’s have some trials.

  • That speculation has been around for a long time. We also know that Lincoln shared a bed for a long time with another man. But what does it mean in that context?

  • Talk is cheap. Real reform will NEVER occur. Not only would it fundamentally alter the nature and practices of the RCC and its influence over members, but it would probably mean bishops, priests, and higherups would be spending time in jail.

  • I agree with everything you wrote. But I think your points might be even more forceful with language that’s a bit more restrained.

  • True.

    But I do not want to give the impression that this was something worthy of polite discussion and respectful decorum.

  • Let us begin with an updated prayer noting just some of the errors and flaws in the RCC:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2018: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of
    historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesuswas summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    (references used are available upon request)

  • We need to do everything in our power to protect our kids…and clearly we aren’t doing enough or doing so consistently enough. Having said that we also need to provide a little perspective, such as has been needed around active shooter events at churches, which are very serious when they occur, but also extremely rare.

    Regarding sexual abuse of children in the church.

    The church insurance industry tells us that the incident of child sex abuse is about the same when comparing Catholics and the various major protestant denominations. So while the Catholic Church is getting the brunt of the headlines, no one in protestant denominations should be deceived into thinking this is only a Catholic Church problem.

    The Department of Education commissioned a study which concluded children in public schools are over 100 times more likely to be sexually abused by a school teacher or other school employee as they are in a church. They say close to 1 in 4 children will be sexually abused–and this doesn’t count sexual abuse by other school children. Other studies come to the same conclusions, but for obvious reasons this is not widely reported.

    From the church perspective, this means in addition to being vigilant to protect children on our campus, we need to be just as vigilant to detect and report child abuse that may be happening in the schools or at home. In terms of a child showing signs of or indicating abuse either voluntarily or in conversation, this is more than 100 times more likely to occur, and we should be prepared. Sad to say, but training in detecting possible signs of sexual abuse and mandatory reporting should be a staple of volunteer and staff training at every church.

  • No. Telling the truth does not make one a homophobe.
    A homofacist is one who wants to promote lgbtip propaganda.

  • I have read in various places that in that era, it was not so uncommon for people to share beds in public lodging.

    Interestingly, as to Lincoln, I’ve read he was the first president not to belong to a recognized Christian denomination.

  • I think you’ve hit it right on the head. Good work.

    And one of the the interesting things about blaming gay people for this problem is that that ensures the problem will continue–it’s sort of similar to doing an incorrect diagnosis on a pt and then treating for the wrong disease.

  • Exactly. Scapegoating to avoid the real issues. It serves two purposes: promote attacks on gays and avoid culpability for the church.

  • Genuine reform would also mean a big Catholic civil war with lots of pain for everyone, because the “homosexual culture”, (as Cardinal Burke correctly phrased it), would have to be confronted and “purified” (Burke’s phrase again.)

    That automatically means a war, and that’s not even counting how angrily the secular libbie media and the Democrat Party would react to such developments.

  • The retired bishops who were complicit in clergy sex abuse should have their pensions revoked and they should be defrocked. The dead ones should be named and publicly condemned. Don’t tell me that can’t be done.

  • Clergy sex abuse and its cover-up is NOT “homosexual culture”. I have dozens of gay male and female friends, and none of them have ever abused a young person or covered up abuse. This is a church culture problem. And people like you are part of the problem. As for Cardinal Burke, what a freak — I believe he is one of the guilty.

  • There is only ONE thing the RCC can do: Admit that it is based on flawed history and theology and then close its doors forever thereby eliminating any more horrific conduct by its priests and bishops. Ditto for all other religions as so ably noted by the Great Kibosh:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • Pop quiz piece of cake. As is your pop atheism. Watch & learn:

    (1) TRUE OR FALSE: “god[‘s] existence cannot be proven”.

    TRUE.

    (2) TRUE OR FALSE: “unproven [is] heaven”.

    TRUE.

    (3) TRUE OR FALSE: “human-created [is] heaven”.

    FALSE.

    (4) TRUE OR FALSE: “[Jesus] was conceived by a Jewish carpenter named Joseph living in Nazareth”.

    FALSE.

    (5) TRUE OR FALSE: “[Jesus] was … born of a young Jewish girl named Mary.”

    TRUE.

    (6) TRUE OR FALSE: “Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser”.

    TRUE.

    (7) TRUE OR FALSE: “Jesus … still lies a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of Jerusalem.”

    FALSE.

    (8) TRUE OR FALSE: “Jesus’ story was embellished and ‘mythicized'”.

    FALSE.

    (9) TRUE OR FALSE: “references used [for atheists’ claims (3), (4), (7) and (8)] are available”.

    FALSE.

  • The reality of Christianity and the update of the Apostles’ Creed can be found in the following references. Get back to us when you finish perusing them.

    1. Historical Jesus Theories,
    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the
    contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books
    on the subject.

    Early Christian Writings,
    earlychristianwritings.com/

    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative

    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q

    50-60 1 Thessalonians

    50-60 Philippians

    50-60 Galatians

    50-60 1 Corinthians

    50-60 2 Corinthians

    50-60 Romans

    50-60 Philemon

    50-80 Colossians

    50-90 Signs Gospel

    50-95 Book of Hebrews

    50-120 Didache

    50-140 Gospel of Thomas

    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel

    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ

    65-80 Gospel of Mark

    70-100 Epistle of James

    70-120 Egerton Gospel

    70-160 Gospel of Peter

    70-160 Secret Mark

    70-200 Fayyum Fragment

    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion

    80-100 2 Thessalonians

    80-100 Ephesians

    80-100 Gospel of Matthew

    80-110 1 Peter

    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas

    80-130 Gospel of Luke

    80-130 Acts of the Apostles

    80-140 1 Clement

    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians

    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews

    80-250 Christian Sibyllines

    90-95 Apocalypse of John

    90-120 Gospel of John

    90-120 1 John

    90-120 2 John

    90-120 3 John

    90-120 Epistle of Jude

    93 Flavius Josephus

    100-150 1 Timothy

    100-150 2 Timothy

    100-150 T-itus

    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter

    100-150 Secret Book of James

    100-150 Preaching of Peter

    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites

    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans

  • Continued from above:

    4. Jesus Database,
    http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html –”The JESUS DATABASE is an
    online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings
    of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era.
    It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to
    the traditions found within the Christian New Testament.”

    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

    6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar

    7.
    http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html
    – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT

    8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman,
    Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

    9.The Gnostic Jesus

    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)

    by Douglas Groothuis:
    http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/gnosticism-and-the-gnostic-jesus/10. The
    interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission

    Presented on March 18, 1994

    ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2

    11. The Jesus Database- newer site:

    wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=Jesus_Database

    12. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:

    faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

    13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:

    mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

    13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies

    14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/

    15. D-iseases in the Bible:

    http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

  • Continued from above:

    16. Religion on- Line (6000 articles on the
    h-story of religion, churches, theologies,

    theologians, ethics, etc. religion-online.org/

    17.
    The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgate-way.com/

    18
    Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.

    ntgat-eway.com/

    19. JD Crossan’s c-onclusions about the authencity of most of the
    NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT exegetes in the last
    200 years:

    http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?title=Crossan_Inventory

    20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by title with the
    complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html

    21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?

    in-fidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html

    22. NT and beyond time line:

    pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/

    23. St. Paul’s Time line with discussion of important events:

    harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm

    24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan’s books and
    those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and
    selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at
    Google Books.

    25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx’s words of wisdom as found in his
    books.

    27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus
    Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.

    28. Father Raymond Brown’s An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY,
    1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.

    29. Luke Timothy Johnson’s book The Real Jesus

    30. “Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument
    for Jesus of Nazareth [Hardcover]

    Professor Bart D. Ehrman (Author)

  • You’ve made false claims to “references used [for atheists’ claims (3), (4), (7) and (8)] are available”.

    Otherwise, you’d have given me, well, the exact “references”.

    Like which book, which page, key texts therefrom, and author’s details.

    Go to it, Atheist!

  • Most of the priest have molested boys. Thus its Roman Catholic and homosexual issue. Those are the facts.

  • Fifth, the theological doctrines that create a culture of abuse and cover-up in the Church must be fearlessly named and changed. If the culture that enables abuse doesn’t change, then why would the problem stop?

  • Facts are one thing.

    Conclusions are another:

    “The report concludes that the vast majority of clergy sex offenders are not pedophiles at all but were situational generalists violating whoever they had access to. Pedophiles, by definition, seek sexual gratification from pre-pubescent children of one gender and target this age and gender group (especially while under stress). Clergy sexual offenders in the Church were more likely to be targeting whoever was around them (and they had unsupervised access to) regardless of age and gender.

    “The researchers conclude that there is no causative relationship between either celibacy or homosexuality and the sexual victimization of children in the Church. Therefore, being celibate or being gay did not increase the risk of violating children. So, blaming the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on gay men or celibacy is unfounded” (Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP, “The New John Jay Report on Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church”, PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, May 18, 2011, available free online. Dr. Plante is professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine).

  • What on earth are you talking about? Your post tells us clearly that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    A few points make it very clear that you don’t know what you are talking about:

    1. It’s not just “libbie media” that are talking about this. Lots of priests have stated that they knew this stuff was happening, tried FOR YEARS to stop it, failed, and have indicated their sadness, anger, dismay, etc at what went on.

    That includes the pope. Is he part of the “liberal media”?

    And BTW, why don’t you define exactly what you mean by “liberal media”?

    2. The RCC has known for NEARLY 30 YEARS that 50% of all clergy are not celibate. It has known this ever since A. W. Richard Sipe–a monk turned psychologist, hired by the Vatican to investigate celibacy among priests–turned in his report.

    Of those 50% non-celibates, half were non-celibate with men, HALF WITH WOMEN.

    Please explain how that 25% were homosexual.

    If you do not, I hope you will refrain from posting any more comments here, since your ignorance-based posts make you look very silly.

  • Thank you. He and Bob Arnzen like to tag-team the handful of LGBTQ+ people who post on this forum. #unmoderated

  • Tis all the words taken together to make the final compilation as found in the updated Apostles’ Creed. Some of the same references were used to make other compilations. For example:

    The Great Kibosh of All Religions:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten
    seconds: Priceless !!!

    As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on
    Buddhism.

    A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings
    (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups
    calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally,
    Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early
    philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely
    different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for
    eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • So, like, for the umpteenth time, ‘yo – which book, which page, key texts therefrom, and author’s details, are they upon which you’ve been making atheist false claims (3), (4), (7) and (8), for the umpteenth time?!?!?!

    Watsamatahwichyo – cat bit you atheist tongue?

    Embarassing. No class whatsoever. Go away.

  • No, let’s see the remaining 49 states gave grand jury reports. Pennsylvania was just the tip of this sordid iceberg!
    SPOTLIGHT II is to be thanked and congratulated for exposing these sinful priests and sinful enablers.

  • Due process is a requirement, not a nicety.

    Few states provide for a grand jury like that convened in PA.

  • I have mentioned several times the research done by monk-turned-psychologist A. W. Richard Sipe (he died last week), and it’s worth looking into.

    RCC hired him ~1990 to investigate priestly sexual activity. He found that 25% of priests were “sexually active” with men, another 25% with women, and the rest, apparently celibate. RCC never questioned his findings.

    The folks ranting about LGBT etc are doing the church a huge disservice, and parishioners as well–and potentially putting lots of people at risk, with, in effect, a “mis-diagnosis” of the problem. And mis-diagnoses are always problematic, sometimes fatal.

  • The bishops knew very well what was going on. They knew very well that the priests were committing SERIOUS felonies; and they knew that covering them up was a felony. But they also felt confident that they’d never be discovered.

    Many things are necessary to end the problem; one of them is that bishops start going to jail.

  • Well, I agree that bishops who fail to tell police about incidents of sex abuse they have heard about – need to go to jail. One of the problems is that bishops, and even priests, are not always included in those bound by law to report child abuse to police. Many states do not have adequate reporting laws even now or statutes of limitations have run out.

    And before anyone tries to deflect the point being made here: This is not about breaking the seal of confession. Many times we have read that a person abused or even the parent of the child abused, or a teacher, has told bishops of actual or suspected abuse – and the bishops just did nothing. Or, the bishop asked the priest and the priest denied it and the bishop dropped the issue.

    We all need to be asking those running for state legislature right now where they stand on these issues – of holding bishops and other religious organization leaders more accountable than they have been in the past.

  • The church is real good on making those pious, hand-wringing statements that are ultimately a pack of lies.

    No one should believe these lying statements from the church until more clergy start showing up in jail.

    The bishops have done more damage to the church than an entire army of heathen like me. HOORAY!!

  • Obviously, you don’t like to read books other than the bible. Get back to us when you expand your knowledge base.

  • Chicago’s Blase Cupich is cooperating with Lisa Madigan…more cities/states will follow the transparency that was started in Pennsylvania.
    Thank you SPOTLIGHT II!
    Stay tuned and informed Bob!

  • GOTCHA Bob, watch the Domino effect started by Pennsylvania! Other cities/states will get onboard.
    Check your past tweet on this matter, remember?

  • I don’t tweet.

    Since you apparently have an anti-Catholic agenda you’re giddy about, while I’m more interested in having intelligent conversation, you’re blocked.

    Do have a nice life.

  • I think that’s too broad. (And please remember, I’m a very strong critic of all religion.)

    There *are* some Xians, of all denominations, who are fine people. I don’t know how representative my experience is, but that experience has been that the best of them are reluctant to discuss their views with others.

    ? Perhaps it would be more accurate to say “the ones who are most insistent about their Xianity will go to great lengths to blame other people….” ?

  • The two of them sure seem to be extraordinarily focused on homosexuality. I can;t help but wonder why that is…..

  • Howard, I want the Catholic Church to survive. I just want it to evolve into a faith that again reflects the heart of Jesus, the teacher who stressed we have to love God and love our neighbors. I think that matters.

  • I cannot argue with that.

    Though I would add, since the church says it is concerned with the souls of members and the hereafter and so on, I’d sure love to see it stay out of politics.