PTSD Spirituality: Pope Benedict Condemns Child Abusing Priests

Pope Benedict XVI condemned child abusing priests yesterday.  He made his statement yesterday in Vatican City.

Child abuse and molestation is a major source of PTSD.  It is a horrendous crime against the body, mind, and soul of a human being.  The depth of the soul damage is made even worse because of the special privileges clergy hold in society.  While it is horrific enough to have a stranger jump you in an alley, or to get drugged, raped (and filmed for internet distribution) at a college fraternity party, the level of trust destroyed in a clergy abuse scenario multiplies the PTSD damage inflicted on the child.

 Some Bishops Act Like Pimps

The bishops who shelter these priests and move them around from parish to parish are akin to pimps.  The difference here is that prostitutes are victims of both pimps and customers.  Bishops who enable corrupt priests are collaborators in criminal pedophilia and are just as guilty as the raping priest.

 Abusive Clergy Are Like the Insurance Industry

The goal of the American insurance industry is to deny me medical care.  They want to keep me away from doctors, clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals.

 When I am sick or when I am in a medical emergency I need care.  The American insurance industry ensures I don’t seek care by creating barriers to treatment so that I avoid treatment until I am in an urgent situation.  If I could have had initial preventative care, then the costs would have been less and I would have missed less work.  The insurance barriers to treatment keep me from physical care.

 Abusive clergy are like abusive insurance companies.  They are indifferent to my needs for care.  They drive me away from the places where I would receive that care.  Then when I am in an urgent situation, I get even more devastated than I would have been had I been properly cared for in the first place. 

 The insurance companies want my premiums but they don’t want to offer prompt necessary health care.  Abusive clergy want my donations, respect, and my children’s bodies.  They don’t want to offer spiritual care.  In fact they offer spiritual devastation by driving people away from the church.

 Priests, who commit these crimes, and their bishop-enablers, drive people away from the Church and the spiritual nourishment their souls need. 

 Small Percentage, Large Impact

Fortunately, only a small percentage of clergy are pedophilic abusers.  And, fortunately, not all bishops are pimping for their child molesting priests.  The majority of priests and bishops are honorable and trying to do their jobs.

 Yet, it only takes a few evil men to ruin the lives of thousands and to bring shame on the entire church.  Most importantly, these people must be stopped from shattering more lives.

 Pope’s Statement Already Derided

The Pope’s statement against these corrupt priests has already been derided by Barbara Dorris, outreach director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP):

How many times will he try to divert attention away from the complicity of bishops and focus exclusively on the crimes of the predators?

I understand the anger and I share the outrage of past crimes against bishops who made sure they could happen again.  Yet, I am pleased that Pope Benedict is addressing the problem.  This Pope does not appear to be in denial about the reality of child abusing priest and manipulating bishops. 

 Would I prefer the Pope move more aggressively against corrupt priest and bishops? Yes, Absolutely!

 Do the Loudest Mouths Make the Pimpiest Bishops?

It would make a good study to find out the answer to this question:

 Are bishops who deny the Eucharist to politicians more likely to be bishops who covered up child molestation in their diocese?

 Anecdotally, it seems that bishops who would deny the Eucharist to politicians based on Pro-Life positions are strangely silent about the death penalty, and even more silent about child abuse.  Noisy quacking bishops need to address clerical sexual abuse, whether against adults or children, as a Pro-Life issue.

 I am grateful that Pope Benedict has met with clergy abuse survivors and has condemned abusive priests.  He needs to speak more directly to his bishops on being Pro-Life across the board, emphasizing the protection of children.

 As the current Irish Catholic Church sex scandals unfold, we look to Pope Benedict to lead on this issue and protect us from predatory priests and pimp-like bishops.

 Why So Quiet About Other Religions’ Sex Abuse?

I am sometimes asked why I don’t go after other religions and their sex abuse problems.  We know that Mormons, Buddhists, Lutherans, Orthodox Judaism, et al., also have their sex abusers.  But as a Roman Catholic it is not proper for me to go after those other groups.  I am called to help clean my own house.  Let the Orthodox and other denominations clean up their own clergy.

 Were You Abused by Clergy?

If you were abused by clergy, there is hope.  God loves you. 

 The priest, or whoever it was, may have told you otherwise, but God loves you and you have value.  While it is understandably difficult, you remain welcome in the church.  The church belongs to you more than it does the abusers.

Semper Pax, Dr. Z


  1. Thanks for the reply. I don’t think it’s fair for people to judge how you are dealing with the pedophile crisis. You are doing what you can to be both forgiving and compassionate. I feel that sometimes Catholics find themselves in the position of being apologists for the failings of the Church, which seems quite unfair since the laity has no say in promotions or Church policy. It will be interesting to see what will happen if Listecki has the priests read a “vote Republican or else” message around election time like he did while in Lacrosse. Most people will probably tune it out and vote how they want anyway, I guess.

  2. Hello Queta, Thank you for reading and commenting. I was surprised with the Listecki appointment for Milwaukee/Wisconsin. He seems atypical of most of Pope Benedict’s appointments at this level.

    The Pope has been passing over many of the publicity-seeking clergy who seek to shout and condemn first and be a pastor second. That is, he has not been promoting them. The Listecki promotion is unsettling given his comments on stopping bad priests. I hope he realizes how alienating and hurtful these comments can be to many of us. He certainly has big shoes to feel as compared to former Archbishop Dolan.

    It will be interesting to see how my recent posts on the pedophile scandals will be received. I suspect that in many cases only half of each essay will be read and digested. For some folks I am being too harsh and critical of the Church and clergy. For others, I am being too forgiving. In my experiences, if two juxtaposed sides feel I am mistaken, I may have a mostly correct view on things.

    In any event, I am grateful that Pope Benedict is publically addressing this crisis. I know many will feel he is not doing enough, but I hope that they can at least appreciate that what he is doing is more than what used to be done. If individual victims are to better heal, then the Pope getting involved on some level is good. If the Church is to heal, the same applies.

    I remain grateful for your continued reading and comments. Semper Pax, Dr. Z

  3. I understand that the Pope is saying that he condemns child-molesting priests. However, he recently installed Jerome Listecki as Archbishop of Milwaukee. Listecki has a horrendous record of not dealing with child molesting priests appropriately. According to data collected by SNAP, Listecki left 64% of accused priests in the ministry compared to a 10% average nationwide. Hmmm, if the Pope is truly concerned about preventing child molestation, perhaps he should have chosen someone with a less horrific record. Apparently if you do a poor job protecting children, you get a promotion.

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