Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Geographical Cure

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

People who deal with sadness and trauma on a daily basis often vent through in-house humor that would be regarded as very offensive by those outside of the profession. Police, firemen, EMT's, doctors, and even social workers see so much hurt and ugliness that often the way to maintain sanity is to close the door and share completely inappropriate comments with co-workers.

One of the inappropriate gems that I remember from my days working child protection in Missouri was "Greyhound Therapy," a way of resolving a case with a particularly irksome family by finding a way to get them to move into another jurisdiction, or, holy of holies, across a state line! They then became someone else's problem. In actuality, that seldom happened, but the big joke always was that the best resolution for a particular case would be "Greyhound Therapy." Yuk, yuk. It was a big, in-house joke for social workers, but it was a joke, a stress-buster designed to lighten the never-ending workload with a little humor.

This week I was reading about how the Catholic Church (God's gift to pedophiles everywhere) employed a similar process for dealing with their pedophile priests, but theirs was, unfortunately not a joke. Priests who couldn't control their urges to molest children were moved, sometimes on an international basis, in a practice that some elements of the Church referred to as "the geographical cure."

The Associated Press recently reported on the practice of "the geographical cure," after they found thirty cases of priests accused of sexually abusing children who were moved abroad. The AP report talked about one priest who admitted abuse in Los Angeles and was sent by the Church to the Philippines - where US church officials mailed him checks and told him not to reveal their source. Another vignette involved a Canadian priest who was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor and then transferred to France where he was convicted of more sexual abuse a few years later.

A former Benedictine monk told the AP, "The pattern is if a priest gets into trouble and it's close to becoming a scandal or if the law might get involved, they send them to the missions abroad."

Any organization can be plagued by the presence of a few bad apples, but where the Catholic Church falls down is in its tendency to hide the abuse in the ill-fated attempt to protect the integrity and reputation of the Church. That policy hasn't worked and it won't work. People who sexually abuse children do not change, and moving them around and entertaining them with attempts at brief therapy won't cure anything. It just puts more children at risk.

Our experiences in childhood impact us throughout life. A child who is done grievous emotional damage by a representative of the Church, and then forced to live in shame to protect the reputation of the Church, has been seriously re-victimized by the very people who should have brought down God's wrath on his original abuser.

Pope Benedict XVI was a member of Hitler's Nazi Youth Corps when he was young, and whether he was a voluntary member or not is not the issue. The point is that his exposure to, and participation in, a fascist organization for young people colored his world view and continues to impact his thinking to this very day.

Pope Benedict XVI is not a kind man, and he is not a good man. He is a lingering shadow of Europe's darkest days, a man who is hellbent on protecting an arcane institution, and he is deaf to the cries of his Church's children.

The Pope's fingerprints are all over the Church's continuing sex abuse scandals. It is well past time for him to go!

1 comment:

Mike Box said...

The more likely result will be another mass exodus of the faithful, beyond the reach of Rome.

Popes, unlike presidents, cannot be impeached. Were it possible who would do it; the College of Cardinals? Seems as though those fellows have been fumbling this ball across the globe.

The Church of Rome has lost the moral authority to speak, and its silence is painful.