On what I said, and what I would have said if I didn't have issues to work through.

In reference to my post in this thread: People who know me know that I do not customarily go out of my way to inflict pain on good people, which is what my post did. So why did I say what I did in the way I did and to whom I said it? And why did I choose such charged language?

I’ve been asking that of myself all weekend. It turns out I have some unresolved anger, guilt and self-hatred over the circumstances of my separation from the Catholic Church. I didn’t used to know that; now I do. (To prevent misunderstandings, I was not abused.) I apologize that it took putting that post out there with that language to realize that. That’s also why I went offline immediately after submitting the post, another mistake – I went to beat myself up a bit. I apologize for that, too.

That doesn’t mean that I can unsay what I said with an apology for the circumstances without addressing the post itself. That wouldn’t be honest, and no one would or should buy it. So I shall instead expand my remarks somewhat in hopes of being more clear and more polite.

The Catholic Church in the United States is not a child sex cult because there are lots of instances of priests abusing young boys. But it has acted like a child sex cult because the very highest levels of the U.S. church engaged in a coordinated, prolonged strategy of covering up abuse and returning culpable priests to duty, free to repeat their crimes, without informing members of the community into which they were inserting the priests. They used perhaps hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars collected from congregants in furtherance of the cover-ups. The cover-ups are sufficiently widespread and the Church is sufficiently hierarchical that I believe I am justified in indicting the Church generally and referring to the practice as a scheme.

I should have made more clear that virtually all Catholics (including virtually all clergy) were and are unwilling and unknowing participants in the scheme, and I should have made it more clear that the duty to act is a new one, on newly discovered information. But I won’t back down from the assertion that the duty to act now exists, and I won’t back down from my characterization of the Church until it acts. This is not some tax evasion racket, nor is it a disagreement about some internal Church policy – this is child abuse.

Guinistasia, to respond to your OP in the way that you deserve, should you leave the church? If you come through this with your Catholic beliefs intact, you most definitely should not. But it’s not enough to be mad, or sad, or grateful that your particular diocese was not part of the scheme. You have the knowledge now. And you have to do something with it if you are to remain a member in good conscience. Despite its hierarchy, the Church exists because of its members. You and other Catholics have an affirmative duty to force the Church to release from their nondisclosure agreements each person with whom they have settled, to disclose the number of settlements and the amount of your money they spent on them, to disclose to the civil authorities the names of abusive priests, to get rid of the senior members of the Church who conducted the scheme, and to draw up a public, trackable plan to prevent further occurrences.

Peggy Noonan wrote in the Journal recently that the most devout Catholics are the most upset about this. I believe that. She also said that they are no longer willing to take their leaders’ word that things will pass. I believe that, too. But dammit, no one is doing anything. “Wishing the Pope had said more” is not doing anything. Expressing anger or shame or whatever is not doing anything. Exposing and firing the Bishops who shuttled these priests around and covered it up is doing something. Refusing to make donations until a complete accounting is made is doing something.

This thing is causing pain far beyond the Church. I’m sorry that I contributed to it.

Your comment was pretty strong, and unlike you. I’m glad you’ve seen fit to apologize for it unreservedly (if I interpret your post correctly.)

As a Catholic, though, I’m still a little miffed. The Church I belong to is an ideal. Hopefully it is a divinely inspired and worthy ideal, I don’t know.

What I do know is that members of the Church are fallible humans. The problems are not problems with the Catholic Church, they are problems with the people in it. They need to be held responsible. Period.

Members of various religions including Catholics have done far worse many times. Hopefully something is learned, and the people in the Church more closely approach the ideal.

**Manny I want you to repeat this affirmation daily:
[Stuart Smalley voice]
I’m Good enough
I’m Smart enough
And, doggoneit, people Like me
[/Stuart Smalley voice]

Manahttan, you have no reason to beat yourself up. You had the cojones to apologize for the “child sex cult” remark, whcih I’m sure has mollified the Catholic Dopers.

As for this former altarboy and lapsed Catholic, I have more issues than a newsstand with the Catholic hierarchy, and I would have said everything you did, except my rant wouldn’t have been as mild and gentle as yours.

Thanks, Manny.

manhatten–glad to see you apologizing, as a catholic, I admit to being a little hurt by what you said. Now I’m not really a religious person at all, I go to Church with my parents and sisters on Christmas, Easter, and maybe a dozen miscellaneous Sundays over the year. I was married in the church. My son was baptized there. Silly maybe, but I dwelled on your words a bit this weekend. I wondered how many other people were thinking similar things about me as I walked into church with my family on Easter morning. And then, appropriately enough, the priest addressed it in his homily. He said a lot of things, but what I took away from it was that a crisis of faith in the church’s institutions in no way taints your faith in God. That made me feel better, less culpable maybe?

Anyway, I’m curious about what you think the average Catholic could do about something like this. I live in a zero tolerance diocese and the bishop here has a full disclosure policy on new priests. Would you have me cease contributing to my church–which provide programs and supplies to my little sister’s school–because a church in Boston doesn’t have those policies? I’m not trying to start an argument here, I’m just truly curious about what I, as a concerned member of the church, could actually do locally.


I actually thought this was pretty weak.

No direct apology to Guinistasia, no unreserved retraction of the statement “the Catholic Church is a child sex cult”. (He attempted it, but sugar coated, and then twisted it).


Go fuck yourself.

Glad you are back on line now, my first email to tubadiva and it was in your favour.


I’m still very worried.

If Manhattan get’s banned, he’ll no doubt leave for mars.

This will leave Ozymandias free to carry out his “Architects Of Fear” scheme.

What then?

Do I ignore my conscience and keep quiet?
Do I tell the world what I know despite the cost?
How does Rorshcach see through that mask anyway?

So many troubling questions

Manhattan, I think that you still don’t get it. You can’t unsay what you said, period. No-one can. I couldn’t call one of my black friends “nigger” and then come up to him the next day and say, well, you see, it’s really all about me and my unresolved anger and guilt and self-hatred connected with black people. Yeah, right.

Moreover, I tend always to look at this Stuart Smalley “learning to love yourself” business with a skeptical eye. Your claims of “self-hatred” and saying that you’ve been “beating yourself up a bit” elicit not an ounce of sympathy from me. You can’t say “I’m sorry” and “you should feel sorry for me” in the same breath. The attempt makes the first statement false and the second one futile.

I’m not a member of the Catholic Church and not really a member of the SDMB “community” per se, though I have long observed both institutions with some interest. As a result, I don’t expect my comments will carry any weight with anyone here at all. For what it’s worth, though . . .

*The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it

DocCathode, you made my day. Unfortunately the soundtrack to the rest of this discussion is sadder than the “Ride of the Valkyries.”

Hi there Manny. I still hope we get to have a drink together at ChiDope.

My hope is that the Church hierarchy will realize that there is no way to hide or contain this horrible problem - it needs to be faced, dealt with, condemned, and abusers and those responsible for covering up abuse removed from positions of trust and authority. Church hierarchy and church members need to come together, face the problem, fix the problem, and hopefully heal. And I believe that only honesty and disclosure will heal the wound - covering it up and pretending it doesn’t happen doesn’t work, and the Church is reaping the fruits of that vast error in thinking. This is a test that the Church has failed up until now. I hope it doesn’t fail again.

My heart breaks for my grandparents and other lifelong Catholics who are trying to celebrate Easter in the midst of this horrible wound in the church, and I hope that they can keep their minds on God and the beautiful things about the religion, and pray for abusers and abused alike.

I was raised Catholic and attended a Jesuit university, and the priests I have known in my life have been the best of men - among the most kind, ethical, and intellectually honest human beings I’ve ever encountered. I can’t imagine them ever hurting anyone, and I pray that they are not hurt by the suspicion that now surrounds people in their profession. If Catholics are to undertake the measures manhattan suggested, in calling for disclosure and if necessary, voting with donations and with their feet, I would also hope that they would speak out in support of priests they know to be of good character and let good priests know how much they are loved and valued.

I left the Church a long time ago, and I know many fellow “recovering Catholics” have a lot of anger toward what they see as a repressive and archaic institution. Personally I’d like to see the Church face its mistakes and emerge intact, I’d like to see priests allowed to marry, I’d like to see female priests, I’d like to see domestic violence as a legitimate reason to end a marriage. Hopefully I will see these things before we are all driving around in flying cars. I’m praying for you Catholics to come through this okay.

Like many of us here who have invested great amounts of thought and time, Manny chose to reconsider and come here to speak about what he said, and did.

I think it’s the decent thing, and I appreciate the process he went through to get to this point. I’ve been there. Agreeing or disagreeing with what he says in this O.P. is besides the point.

He done good.


I vote for the forgiveness of Manhattan.

Compare that one post to all his others. Clearly it was written in a moment of great emotion.

I’m not saying that it should be forgotten. Those who feel the need should give Manhattan his flogging and then consider the matter closed.

I feel Manhattan’s apology was adequate. He states in no uncertain terms that parishoners were “unknowing and unwilling” participants in the cover up. An unqualified apology would not be appropriate. Some members of the clergy are guilty.

Enough pain has come from the current scandals. There is no reason to add the pain of losing Manhattan to the heap.

 I remind everyone of the prodigal son. Manhattan has  returned, duly contrite, seeking to be welcomed back into our house. I say, give him a stern lecture, ground him, and then kill the fatted lamb and let  him come home.

Frankly, when I saw the thread I thought I was watching a man unravel into insanity in front of my very eyes. Part of me was sad, part of me was fascinated. I was married to a loony once who ultimately committed suicide and ever since have been interested in head cases.(Fortunately I stumbled on this place full of smart, completely fucked up people.)

Of religion, I have nothing to say. Like abortion, no one’s mind ever gets changed past a certain age, it seems.

Those of you who think Manny shouldn’t get a second chance, be very, very, careful. You,too,will be needing one someday. One of the few things guaranteed in life.

Anyway,Manny, I for one accept your apology. It seems to have been just a short lapse, which makes you less interesting, but also less scary, so I guess it evens out.

Alright, keep it movin’, ya damn rubber-necks!

Manny -

I think you have struck the right note here.

No, not all Catholics were aware of the practice of the Church regarding pedophiliac clergy.

No, the primary function of the RCC is not to provide pedophiles with victims.

However, now that EVERYONE knows what the practice is, I for one, suggest that US Catholics withold tithing until such time the Curia gets the message.

Below is the National Catholic Reporter’s coverage of the recent press conference by the Vatican on the issue

I suggest searching the ‘Archives’ sections of this site.

one entry:


John L. Allen Jr’s report

I wanted to say this earlier, but the moderators suggested it would be counterproductive :rolleyes:

I find it ironic that, if the Catholic heirarchy had handled the initial reporting of the pedophile priests in the same manner that the SDMB heirarchy had handled manhatten’s original offending post, then manhatten probably wouldn’t have had anything to complain about.

Look at it. manhatten did something “wrong”, the admins left it up for all to see, announced that they were “looking into” it, and then came back with swift and public judgement. manhatten may still be a leader of the flock, but anybody who cares to look at his record can still see that he had that one offensive post.

If the RCC heirachy that started this scandel were administrating this board, they would have deleted the thread and paid everyone who saw it a couple thousand dollars to shut up about it.

One more thing, belladonna. The last I checked, the Catholic heirarchy didn’t stop at the bishop level. You need to keep lobying your bishop to convert other bishops and (more importantly) his cardinal to his way of thinking, and refuse to allow any of your donations to leave your diocese until you can be convinced that the policy is being spread throughout the catholic church.

That is what the average Catholic can do.


We all post in anger from time to time, or say something badly that comes out different from what we mean.

We hold moderators to a higher standard than other members, but we’re all pretty much human and upon occasion, one of us falls short of that standard.

Manny has now been scolded and has apologized, and we trust that’s the end of that. Of beating him up for it, I mean; obviously debate and discussion on the Catholic Church continues.

…and what would this be? Christian forgiveness? Love the sinner but hate the sin? Help me out here.


Well, not everyone’s Christian. Another thing is that Manny still asserts that the church heirarchy is acting like a child sex cult. Point of fact: it’s not. The heirarchy is acting like a group leadership that’s trying to prevent the group’s image from getting tarnished by those within the leadership (and, yes, priests are the leadership) who have committed crimes, and the method they’ve taken for this is to shuffle and switch the offendors.

Now, a child sex cult would be along the lines of NAMBLA.

To punish Whom (Who?) exactly?

It’s not a rhetorical question. Think about it.