You’re not helping v2

It seems Pope Benedict XVI has a chronic case of footinthemouth disease. He keeps making incredibly insensitive statements that undermine his efforts to show that he cares about the children abused by priests and nuns:

Victims of clerical sex abuse have reacted furiously to Pope Benedict’s claim yesterday that paedophilia wasn’t considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s.

In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.

“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.

“It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

Now I am not entirely familiar with 1970s theories, having been born a decade later. However, I am fairly certain that few, if anybody, theorized that pedophilia was a natural process among humans. It certainly occurs with enough regularity that it is probably part of the human condition, but there does not appear to be any evidence that the normal relationship between adults and children is for adults to have sex with children.

More so, I am pretty sure that people considered pedophilia an absolute evil before the 1970s. Were there instances where that did not hold true? Absolutely. In the Netherlands there were child porn magazines as recently as the 1970s. There were also a series of videos that were produced and distributed with apparently little intervention by the authorities. However, those were outlier situations. For the most part, it seems that people were disgusted by the idea of adults having sex with children.

Granted, the Pope has a point about shifting attitudes. Chronologically speaking, it is only recently in the West that we have condemned men having sex with children, and literally only within the last couple of decades that we have begun to condemn women having sex with children. However, the Pope seems to lack any real understanding of the matter:

“We cannot remain silent about the context of these times in which these events have come to light,” he said, citing the growth of child pornography “that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society” he said.

What society is he living in? Most of the major countries have strict laws regarding child pornography, and those caught making it or possessing it can spend the rest of the lives in prison. Our society is so paranoid about child pornography that there have been people arrested for take photos of their children taking baths or in their underwear. That does not sound like a society that considers it normal.

For whatever reason the Pope continues to take every opportunity to address the sex abuse in his Church to make increasingly disconnected statements. It is unclear if he literally does not get it or if he is so removed that he does not feel like he has to. Whatever the cause, these kind of statements only infuriate the very victims he should be reaching out towards. It is perfectly reasonable to argue that there is no such thing as good and evil, but that is not the kind of comment one should make to abuse victims. Perhaps someone needs to sit down and explain to him the concept of choosing words more carefully because at this point the Pope is not helping the situation.

5 thoughts on “You’re not helping v2

  1. This is not the Pope being clueless. It is part of the Vatican’s overall strategy of making it look as if the church was somehow corrupted by society at large as opposed to being corrupt itself. Again, this is part of the long-term strategy which allows them to conflate homosexuality with pedophilia and to say that both are part of one movement towards immorality that the church has been victimized by. This is one of the well-known strategies of neutralization, where a person or a group knows that his/her/their actions have been wrong, but wants to avoid the negative emotions of guilt or the bad publicity. The Catholic Church has been shown by Anson Shupe and other researchers to employ each of these strategies despicably and without regard for the harm the strategies inflict on victims.

  2. Here is a link to the book in which Shupe describes in detail how the Catholic Church employed strategies of neutralization after they had stopped trying to use the prove their innocence using the “nuts and sluts” defense.

  3. Hi

    Any chance you could remove the link to the Men’s Advice Line that appears on the right of this blog.

    The organisation is simply a front for man-hating feminists. One of their main focuses seems to be to publicise just how many men are supposedly making up the fact they are vicitms of domestic violence, and that male vicitms of domestic violence are actually abusers.

    It’s incredibly suspicious that an organisation that supposedly cares about men spend so much time highlighting how many calls to theri helpline were from suppoedly abusers themselves – in any other situation this would surely put their srvice at risk? When did you ever hear Women’s helpline talking about false accusations of abuse perhaps motivated by custody disputes or divorce?

    The stats were used quite a bit during the Scottish Parliament’s debate on violence against men, the key phrase is as follows:

    “A significant number of men calling the Men’s Advice Line who initially identify as victims change their own identification by the end of the call or provide information about the violence in their relationships which strongly suggests that they are either not a victim or in fact are the perpetrator.”

    Just read the last part of that – they’re judging the men and actively seeking the slightest evidence that they could be an abuser. The sentence was quoted by Labour MSPs here:

    there’s a committee quoting it here:

    Click to access 10-PE1307K.pdf

    here’s a representative of the London Mayor using it:

    Click to access Mayor%20of%20London%20Letters%20and%20Response.pdf

    Here’s a good critique of what goes on with the Men’s Advice Line – basically they are refusing to believe some callers:. When did you last hear of a helpline doing that?

  4. @John…

    I believe that future welfare workers in Victoria, Australia are being taught that male victims be disbelieved along the same lines.

    We’ve just had a change of government in Victoria. I’ll be getting the chance to talk to the new health minister. This is intended to be one of the items on my agenda.

  5. “One of their main focuses seems to be to publicise just how many men are supposedly making up the fact they are vicitms of domestic violence, and that male vicitms of domestic violence are actually abusers.”

    Sounds exactly like how MRAs treat female rape. Pot meet kettle. I’m not a fan of feminism, but until MRAs stop treating female rape survivors like liars, you really have no business whining that people don’t take men’s domestic violence issues seriously. Every time I hear someone identify as MRA they make horrible, shitty, disparaging comments about how people (women, usually) always “cry rape”.

    I was raped by a stranger, but I’m sure that I just “cried rape” because, you know, that’s what women do, have sex with people they don’t know with a gun to their head and then regret it and “cry rape”, amiright? Just like all those pathetic little boys who “cry molestation”. I mean, why should we believe them? After all, people ARE falsely accused of molestation everyday – who is speaking for them? Seriously, fuck MRA whining – you guys believe that if a woman is raped she is a liar, and if a man is domestically abused or molested he should be immediately believed.

    And that is piss poor logic and totally wrongheaded, if I do say so myself. I want to be on your side, because I understand that modern feminism is a hateful game, but you are acting like insensitive assholes. If you want women to care about your issues, quit calling them liars and disparaging their legitimate complaints. Also, if you haven’t raped someone or don’t plan to, I don’t understand why you are so scared of being accused of rape. Seriously.

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