Before I offer specific replies, I’ll make a general observation. As I’ve noted before, one of the ironies of life in a fallen world is that a righteous man is often friendless in his time of need while wicked men are rarely at a loss for friends who rush to their defense.
We see this is the Catholic abuse scandal. Once again, just compare the running series that Beckwith has done defending the Catholic establishment with the whistleblowers over at BishopAccountability.org (to take one example).
"Steve is making a gross stereotype of the Catholic church priesthood as being entirely made up of pedophiles."
A fallacious inference.
"Sorry Steve. I think you misrepresent the Catholic church when you refer to it as a 'pedophilic institution.'"
An assertion in search of an argument.
The Roman Magisterium has been facilitating clerical pederasty for decades. It only began to back down after the conspiracy of silence was broken and the lawsuits began to mount.
One doesn't have to be a pederast to be complicit in pederasty. A businessman can operate an "escort" service even if he doesn't personally sample the goods.
But typically, for morally-challenged individuals like you and Beckwith, you're far more concerned with protecting the abusive institution rather than the abused minors.
"Fallacious inference Steve and an ad-hominem to boot."
To merely say something is fallacious doesn't make it so.
And in Biblical ethics, what we do, or fail to do ("ad hominem") matters just as much as logical validity.
Misconduct, both on the part of the Catholic clergy and her shameless defenders, is very much the issue.
"When did I say, we shouldn't protect minors from pederast priests?"
That's just a throwaway line. You don't care about that. That's not what you spend your time on. Rather, you spend your time defending an abusive institution.
"My claim is that you are misrepresenting the Catholic church by calling it an 'pedophilic institution.'"
Calling something a misrepresentation doesn't make it so.
"Please stick to the topic at hand."
When you defend the goats rather than the sheep, you put yourself in the goats' column. Remember that before you die, lest you find out the hard way.
"That's true, but to say that the entire institution of the Catholic church was complicit, like the image of the businessman you use, would be an incorrect assessment of the church"
I judge a hierarchical institution by the conduct of the hierarchy. That's the nature of the beast.
ON THE RECORD SAID:
“I think that Steve is referring to this link on Beckwith's blog: http://romereturn.blogspot.com/2010/05/catholic-sex-abuse-blunt-q.html”
Wrong. I wasn’t alluding to just one post by Beckwith. Beckwith has been posting a number of things defending the Catholic establishment against critics of the abuse scandal. That’s just one of several.
“In it Beckwith merely tells his readers to consult a post by Trent Dougherty, a colleague of his. If you read Dougherty's post carefully, it will show Triablogue readers that Mr. Hayes' charges on this blog are borne of bigotry and not reason.”
i) The “bigotry” charge is becoming a popular trope among Catholic epologists. Of course, social liberals return the favor by accusing the Roman church of bigotry, sexism, homophobia, &c., for it’s restriction of the priesthood to men. So it might behoove Catholic epologists to avoid wielding a double-edged sword in case it slips and cuts them to death.
ii) This is also related to the victim card which Beckwith and other Catholic epologists are wont to play these day. But to cast the Roman church in the role of victim is no more convincing than attempting to victimize Al Capone. The church of Rome is a vast, multinational operation with a battery of lawyers who run interference for malfeasant clergy. It has often been in bed with the political establishment, and exploited those connections to shield itself from legal accountability.
iii) The language of “bigotry” is the language of intimidation rather than persuasion. And effort to silence the critics by shaming then rather than arguing them down. The last resort of the scoundrel.
“As Dougerty points out, there were are bad priests, but their numbers are on average lower than what goes on in Protestant congregations as well as the teaching profession.”
From what I can tell, that simply regurgitates the John Jay Report. What are we to make of that?
Well, as one Catholic reviewer notes:
• Even as the reports were released, the Bishop Accountability website listed eight priests facing civil suits for child molestation who continued to serve in parishes in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
• As Philip Lawyer, editor of The Catholic World Report noted, Archbishops Weakland and Sanchez – confessed offenders – continue to function as Prelates, “performing Confirmations and receiving the full dignity of the office they disgraced” (CWR, April 2004).
• Since the release of the reports, more new and grave allegations against ecclesiastics have risen. To mention only several cases involving Bishops, investigations are underway on the alleged pedophilia of Bishop Dupre of Springfield (who incidentally has resigned), and Bishop Howard Hubbard faces accusations of sexual misconduct and covering for an Albany ring of homosexual priests.
The report that intended to close the question on pedophilia in the clergy had some essential weak points.
First, the John Jay report lacked the major requirement of impartiality necessary for an objective study. To be impartial, the results must be issued by a person or organ that enjoys the prerogative of independence – with no links to either party in the trial, be they links of blood, money, or any other kind; no external pressures; no personal interests. Although its name suggests an official organ of justice, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice is not independent. It is just a private company hired by the Bishops to make a survey about themselves. That is, the Bishops were paying the bill.
Second, it also fell short in another important requisite for its findings, which is objectivity. The data for the survey were furnished by the Bishops themselves, without any guarantee that they were giving all the information they should. That is to say, it gave the results the Bishops wanted to give to issue findings against themselves - something enough to silent the general indignation.
Here’s another instance of slippery stats:
Let’s take a quick look at his claims:
260 reports of sexual abuse of minors per year by Protestant “church-related folks (not specifically ministers)
228 reports of sexual abuse of minors per year by Roman Catholics “clerics” (he doesn’t specify whether that includes deacons)
His use of raw numbers is interesting. The raw numbers are about the same, but there are about twice as many Protestants as Roman Catholics. Guess what that means … it means that on a per capita basis the abuse rate is twice as high.
Also note that he’s comparing reports made to insurance companies (not only those that are “credible reports”) with “credible reports” as determined by the church whose servants the alleged perpetrators are. The goal of this apples and oranges comparison is clear.
And that article is just one of many deceitful defenses of Rome’s clergy.
“By focusing only on Catholics and ignoring his own tradition and its crimes, Hayes shows himself to be a bigot of the first order.”
i) Needless to say, it’s fallacious to compare just one denomination (the Roman Church) with a number of other denominations (Protestant churches).
ii) My tradition is the Reformed tradition. Feel free to cite reputable stats that Reformed pastors in, say, the OPC, PCA, and/or URC seduce underage boys at the same rate as Roman Catholic clergy; that their superiors shuttle the abusers from one church to another, &c.
iii) The comparison is fallacious in another respect as well. I, as a Protestant, don’t swear my unconditional fealty to any particular denomination–unlike the Roman Catholic.
Although Protestant theology can be institutionalized, Protestant theology is not an institution. Protestant theology is portable.
iv) Keep in mind that for the loyal Catholic, the percentages are irrelevant. 95% of the priesthood and episcopate could be active pedophiles, but that wouldn’t make a dent in the allegiance of the loyal Catholic. For the claims of Rome are unfalsifiable.
“Mr. Hayes has a right that critique Catholicism or any other religion that he thinks is mistaken. I speak for many who would defend his liberty to make his case.”
Well, things are looking up since the halcyon days of the Holy Inquisition and the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
“But he has no moral right to slander the innocent.”
Notice this single-minded preoccupation with defending the Catholic establishment rather than underage children.
JOE HESCHMEYER SAID:
“Beckwith posted his (or more accurately, Trent's) ‘blunt Q & A,’ which provides substantial arguments. I'm not saying the arguments all irrebutable, but they're arguments.”
Yes, in Catholic polemics, a bad argument is just as good as a good argument. Even better.
“The argument is facially silly. First, it's not true, as Steve claims, that 'the Roman Magisterium has been facilitating clerical pederasty for decades,' in a meaningful sense of that sentence. The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. The bad bishops in question failed in their pastoral responsibilities, but that's not a Magisterial function, even though it's an episcopal function…Your erroneous invocation of the Magisterium suggests the depths of your ignorance on this subject.”
Well, according to Cardinal Dulles, “The term ‘Magisterium’ designates not only the function of official teaching but also the body of persons who carry on this function, the official teachers,” Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith (Sapientia Press 2007), 3.
But that evidently suggest the depths of the good Cardinal’s lamentable ignorance on this subject.
“The only way you could say with any degree of honest that the Magisterium was at fault is if the Catholic Church taught that pedophilia was ok, which of course, it doesn't. The opposite, of course, is true.”
Which of course is vintage Pharisaism. Only judge us by what we say and never by what we do.
By contrast, God doesn’t issue a perpetual lease to the religious establishment: “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits” (Mt 21:43).
It’s fine with me if Catholics want to stake out that position. That’s just one more reason not to be Catholic.
"Are all taxpayers responsible for the abuses and scandals caused by politicians, since their tax dollars "enable" the government, and thus, somewhere along the line, pay a minute portion of the salary of the politican?"
Taxation is compulsory. Belonging to the church of Rome is not. No one was forcing Beckwith to join (or rejoin) the Roman church. And the Roman church is hardly the only wheel in town. It’s not as if he lacks better alternatives.
"Apply that logic to any other situation."
And your blanket dismissal would make it impossible for anyone to ever be complicit in the crimes of the organization to which he voluntarily belongs and and actively participates.
“Finally, the entire tone of the piece is entirely unbecoming to a Christian.”
i) No doubt defensive Catholics would prefer that I confine myself to antiseptic euphemisms. However, the Bible is never afraid to use graphic language to characterize sin (e.g. Isa 57:3-9; Ezk 16; 23; 43:7-9; Jer 2:20,23-24; 3:1-23; 13:26-27; Rev 14; 17-19).
But I realize that from a Catholic standpoint, Biblical candor is entirely unbecoming to a Christian.
ii) Once again we have a Catholic apologist who is offended by graphic words rather than graphic deeds.
“Steve calls the victims of pedophlia ‘butt-boys.’”
I use a graphic word because that graphically denotes the way in which underage males were used by pederasts in the Catholic clergy. HESCHMEYER waxes indignant at the use of a word, and not the practice to which it corresponds. No wonder he defends Beckwith. One moral blind man vouching for the morality of another moral blind man.
ON THE RECORD SAID:
“Steve: You're far from logical. You exhibit all the characteristics of a bigot blinded by hatred. Did you read the article that Beckwith linked to? If not, you're an intentional ignoramus. (The fact that you don't link to it here reveals your fear of being called out for your idiocy). Dougherty skewers the stupidity and bile you are spewing here.”
i) So a paragraph laden with invective (“bigot,” “blinded,” “hatred,” “ignoramus,” “idiocy,” “stupidity,” “bile,” “spewing” represents your Catholic standards of logicality. Thanks for leading by example.
ii) In fact I do respond to the article in question (see above).
“You are committing several fallacies: Guilt by association.”
There can be genuine guilt-by-association. If I’m a Klansman, I’m complicit even if I never personally lynch a black man. If I’m a consigliere, I’m complicit even if I never ordered the hit.
For somebody who prides himself on logicality, logic is not your strong suit.
“Just because Mr. Jones is a Catholic and defends Catholicism does not mean that he should be saddled with every bad thing other Catholics do…”
When Catholics attack the Protestant faith, they fault it for being individualistic. But when Catholics defend Catholicism against charges of institutional corruption, they appeal to individualism. Mustn’t tar the institution for the actions of individuals, however high up the food chain.
“Especially when Catholic moral theology FORBIDS the practice.”
As long as you verbally forbid the practice, you’re blameless if you facilitate the practice. That disclaimer would come in very handy for career criminals.
“The Catholic Church is the only Christian group that has consistently resisted the cultural corruption of the Far Left.”
I guess Nancy Pelosi didn’t get the memo. Where’s her bishop?
“Who issued the first real salvo against modernism? Piux [sic] X: 'PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS.'
So why does the Vatican sanction theistic evolution? Why does the Vatican appoint liberals like Raymond Brown and Joseph Fitzmyer to the Pontifical Biblical Commission?
“If it's not the Council of Trent, it's purgatory, or the Council of Florence mentioning Jews.”
Thanks for pointing out that Catholicism is a target-rich environment. A veritable buffet of ethical and theological decadence. One must keep going back for seconds and thirds just to sample the sheer variety of error.
“You're like a communist who reads the Wall Street Journal.”
If I were a commie, I’d find more congenial reading material by perusing the “Social Justice Issues” at the USCCB website.
“It is really, really obvious, and embarrassingly clownish…Ad hominem. Name-calling is wrong if it is a cover for good arguments (or in this case, any argument). Steve, are you a gown up?”
Thanks for reminding me that name-calling is wrong–“bigot,” “blinded,” “hatred,” “ignoramus,” “idiocy,” “stupidity,” “bile,” “spewing,” “communist,” “clownish,” &c.