HYSTERIA OVER IRISH CLERGY ABUSE
May 20, 2009--Catholic League
After nine years of investigation, Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse has published its findings. More than 30,000 children, most of them delinquents, passed through one or more of Ireland’s Catholic-run institutions from the 1920s through the 1980s. (This is absolutely untrue. The vast majority were not delinquents.)
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the report today:
Reuters is reporting that “Irish Priests Beat, Raped Children,” yet the report does not justify this wild and irresponsible claim. Four types of abuse are noted: physical, sexual, neglect and emotional. Physical abuse includes “being kicked”; neglect includes “inadequate heating”; and emotional abuse includes “lack of attachment and affection.” Not nice, to be sure, but hardly draconian, especially given the time line: fully 82 percent of the incidents took place before 1970. As the New York Times noted, “many of them [are] now more than 70 years old.” And quite frankly, corporal punishment was not exactly unknown in many homes during these times, and this is doubly true when dealing with miscreants. (Richard Sipe called Donohue a bozo for these statements. I have a different opinion. See below.)
Regarding sexual abuse, “kissing,” and “non-contact including voyeurism” (e.g., what it labels as “inappropriate sexual talk”) make the grade as constituting sexual abuse. Moreover, one-third of the cases involved “inappropriate fondling and contact.” None of this is defensible, but none of it qualifies as rape. Rape, on the other hand, constituted 12 percent of the cases. As for the charge that “Irish Priests” were responsible, some of the abuse was carried out by lay persons, much of it was done by Brothers, and about 12 percent of the abusers were priests (most of whom were not rapists). (The amount of projection Bill is engaging in is truly mind boggling.)
The Irish report suffers from conflating minor instances of abuse with serious ones, thus demeaning the latter. When most people hear of the term abuse, they do not think about being slapped, being chilly, being ignored or, for that matter, having someone stare at you in the shower. They think about rape. (Most people define abuse as getting viciously exploited, as you are doing here, once again, to the victims.)
By cheapening rape, the report demeans the big victims. But, of course, there is a huge market for such distortions, especially when the accused is the Catholic Church.
This is a classic piece of work. I strongly suspect that Mr. Donohue was himself a product of one of those households in which the rod wasn't spared, heat wasn't always available, and food was hit or miss. That he can pass over all that as 'insignificant' may say more about his childhood than it does the veracity of the Ryan report. There is a great deal of projection leading directly to out right lies in Mr. Donohue's assessment. I seriously doubt he's read anything other than the Times account of this report. I guess he doesn't need to in order to prop up his fantasy world about Catholicism.
On the other hand, I'm glad Mr. Donohue weighed in on the Ryan report the way he has, because I think it might demonstrate just what the fatal flaw is in Institutional Catholicism. It seriously suffers from a collective case of Borderline Personality Disorder. BPD is the result of abuse, neglect, repression, and abandonment at critical times in child development. This then seems to function as a retardant on personal emotional maturation. In the adult it really does manifest as a series of behaviors which are far more akin to those of a scared defensive child, than a rational adult. The adult then has an adult intellect coupled with the emotional maturity of a hurt and abandoned child. It can be really frustrating and confusing for a normal adult to attempt a relationship with a Borderline. For these Irish children it would be impossible.
In the article I've linked to the anonymous author, (who paints with a true brush) has this to say about relating with a Borderline:
When a BPD person is an adult (in age anyway) and engages in a serious relationship with someone, a relationship that should be based on mutual adult love and sharing, it isn't long before child-like relationship aspects arise and cause problems. The BPD person is only capable of limited love but needs endless love, the same as what a child expects with a parent. The significant other person in this relationship becomes the parent replacement; available on demand to meet all the personal, emotional, and circumstantial needs; but, gets very little deep mature love and consideration in return. What this person usually experiences in this relationship is what a parent does with a child/teenager; 1) sometimes genuine love; 2) sometimes casual indifference; 3) sometimes sarcasm, smart-ass attitude, picking, provoking, moodiness, and irritability; 4) sometimes withdrawal and depression. Part of this behavior comes from simple immaturity and part comes from the threat that the significant other person represents the capacity to hurt, betray, and leave.
The Ryan report graphically portrays what can happen when hurt and abandoned children are placed in the control of systematically enculturated borderline adults. You get horrific and systematic abuse. When the emotional retardation also involves purposeful sexual emotional retardation, you get systematic sexual abuse where the perpetrators rarely understand there is a difference between inappropriate sexual touching and outright rape. It all becomes the same and it's treated as if it was all the same. It's all covered up, unpunished, and the perpetrator becomes the victim.
Why is that? Again, here's a take from the linked article:
Children either can't accept responsibility/accountability for certain aspects of themselves, certain overwhelming experiences, or don't want to be punished for bad behavior (even internally by feeling guilty), so it's a convenience to displace responsibility and put the blame on someone else. This is very obvious behavior in a child but takes on a little more sophistication in an adult because the mature intellect becomes a factor which has a greater capacity to manipulate/rationalize circumstantial factors.
A child will deny bad behavior or transfer it to someone else, even if a parent/adult is completely aware or witnessed what actually happened. Nevertheless, a parent/adult usually dismisses the incident anyway as childish nonsense. However, it boggles the mind to witness an adult do the same thing; it isn't normal mature behavior. When an adult projects, what usually ensues is some kind of argument on what actually happened and who actually did what. The truly amazing part, though, is no matter how you confront the projecting adult, they will deny everything, the same as a child does. This truly is childish behavior - and it is one capacity of a child or a BPD adult. (This whole phenomenon is played out every time a bishop lays the entire blame for abusive clerics soly on the clerics, as if the bishops had nothing to do with it.)
If a BPD is emotionally stressed, they are automatically in the "trapped child" zone of their psyche. In this area, they can't see themselves as anything but a victim. Their behavior is always in response to an encounter, not the provocation. The other person is always the bad guy and is always at fault. (We have seen this scenario as the standard response from our bishops with nauseating regularity.)
I don't know how many times I've read something about one of our bishops or clerics and thought to myself, 'this is so childish.' This kind of behavior works when the laity is not well educated, not well rounded, or products of abusive families or cultures. That's not true in the West anymore, and this kind of mindless borderline behavior doesn't work anymore. It looks selfish, defensive, and childish. The problem is normal adults just can't believe borderline adult behavior. They don't know how to deal with it. Normal adults generally get fed up with the relationship and exit stage left. They give the borderline their biggest fear and abandon the relationship.
The state of the Church in the West can legitimately be seen as one of adults leaving a church whose hierarchy are functioning like adult borderlines. And just like borderlines, the hierarchy is blaming those who have left for leaving, and then pretending they haven't felt that rejection by clinging to a small loyal contingency as if that contingency represents the 'good' church.
This is all unhealthy behavior indicative of an unhealthy culture. The Ryan report just delineates and defines the devastating outcome when an unhealthy church was colluded by a nation/state raised in the same psychological dynamic. Bill Donohue's response delineates just how powerfully this dynamic still plays out in the righteous remnant and why they are so defensive for 'mother' church and her wayward 'fathers'.
As long as the hierarchy and houses of religious refuse to look at the psychological dynamics of their culture, there will be more Ryan reports and more abuse scandals and more adults will leave the Church. This is a fundamental rot out of sinc with what modern society understands about healthy human functioning. Instead of forcing humanity to conform to an outdated understanding of humanity and constantly condemning modern social movements, maybe it's time the Church at least stopped the condemnation long enough to listen to the voices of those they are condemning. Had they done so previously they might have avoided a huge amount of grief.