Child Abuse Now Visible Is the Tip of the Iceberg

According to Richard Sipe, former priest and expert on Catholic sex abuse,

At the First National Conference for Victims & Survivors of Roman Catholic Clergy Abuse held in Chicago, October 1992 I said:  “the problem of child abuse now visible is the tip of the iceberg. When the whole story of sexual abuse by presumed celibate clergy is told it will lead to the highest corridors of the Vatican.”

Corruption in the Church comes from the top down… Wherever one finds sexual abuse of minors on any level of the clergy there are inevitably men in authority above them who are sexually active themselves or who are tolerant of such behavior. If celibacy were truly and widely practiced on the highest levels of the Church there would be no room for the abuse of minors.

As I collected data on the behaviors of bishops and priests the systemic dynamic of celibate/sexual violations became more and more apparent. Bishops and priests are sexually active behind a veil of feigned abstinence. The sexual crisis of the Roman Catholic Church splashed in bold headlines across continents demonstrates the workings of their secret world.

Sipe argues persuasively, and at length, in this and other articles and books, that a compromised leadership moves from covering up for itself to covering up for those below them. Further, he argues that the demands for “perpetual and perfect chastity” (i.e., vows of celibacy) are at best, at any moment, only being kept by half of all clergy. Thus, there is a constant gap between how clergy want to be seen and how they act which makes hypocrisy and collusion in concealing this hypocrisy inevitable.


16 thoughts on “Child Abuse Now Visible Is the Tip of the Iceberg

  1. Azoy vi es goyisht zuch, azoy yiddisht zuch. Logic dictates, that the true reason for MECHAPEH aka as alleged Messira, those claiming so, have vested interests . That might be anywhere from being victimized themselves in the past, to having perpetrators within the mishpoche, friends or otherwise. How else could there be such an opposing gap from one extreme to the other, z.b. RODEF vs. MESSIRA amongst the GEDOLIM? If the child of these so claiming mesira would be RODEFed by a HARODEF achar haZACHAR, would they not apply the DIN Mishna as to being a RODEF in HOT PURSUIT? Bet you dollars to doughnuts, of course they would! The Torah teaches in so many places to protect the weak, the poor, the infirm, the helpless, ” Ki kaasher yakum ish al re’ehu urtsacho nefesh ken hadavar haze. Why is a child’s blood HEFKER??? What happened to vehevey Medabek bemidotav, ma hu rachum vechanun af ata rachum vechanun, and veshamaati ki rachum vechanun oni? Huh?

    B”H the tide is turning, since the Weberman case, many take the plea of guilty and modeh barabim, of which only talks volumes about marbe raglayim le davar, veod chatsi davar. Out the window goes the pseudo claims of a need to credible witnesses, vechulay vechulay, vechol minei piraniyot and shemot hanirdafim. Today it is crystal clear, who the innocent children have been all along and who the Marbe Raglayim memaharim larutz lera’a are. We also have those of chizru bachem that backpedal, of which is a good start. Having an asher yechta nassi, will only add to a good finnish as well. Velo yihye od shod vashever beYisrael. Hakotev bedema.

  2. The dynamics and culture of the vatican and the church at all its levels, and its pedeophila, are VERY different than that in our community and the actually small number of abusers in our community.

    • There are similarities and differences between orthodox community and RCC. The biggest difference is that the Vatican is a central hierarchy with written records so all got revealed sooner in the course of civil litigation. There is a good reason that Agudah and the RCC are close allies in fighting the extension of the Statute of Limitations on civil suits. They both know they face major financial liabilities because the problems are widespread for both of them. You need many cases to have large civil liability exposure.

      Trust the Agudah on this. They know more than we do.

  3. The Catholic church has a problem in that celibacy is not a normally sustainable state for most people. We don’t have that in the Jewish religion – in fact, one of the positives of marriage (cited in many Sforim) is it provides a permissible sexual outlet and ameliorates that Yeitzer Horo/Taava/urge.
    For us, a dysfunctional marriage would be the corresponding contributing factor in abuse. Not to imply that married people can’t be pedophiles, or that pedophiles can’t be happily married, but it is less common that someone in a good marriage with open communication would be looking for external outlets.
    Problem is that too many were never taught what a marriage should be.
    But to repeat, this is not a necessary condition for pedophilia, there are many other factors involved as well.

    • I agree, Judaism promotes marriage for all including its leaders and generally opposes celibacy within marriage. But Sipes’ main point is not that celibacy causes the problem but hypocrisy. In the Roman Catholic case it results from covering up the fact that most priests cannot stick to their celibacy vows, In orthodoxy there are many other forms of hypocrisy. For example, loshon horah is routinely used by top leaders to bash others in private and in public. But they cannot afford to admit it so they double down on chumras for the ordinary people. Similarly there is hypocrisy about daas torah. Leaders clam to competent judges of how to detect and manage child sex abuse. They routinely fail for all sorts of reasons but still block the scientific and legal paths used in secular society.

      • Hypocrisy is most certainly part of it. In addition there is ‘defending the faith’ – in RCC, it is the celibacy policy, even though it isn’t humanly sustainable (except for a few individuals), and has rarely been honestly followed. But they fear that to remove it would cast doubts on the faith in general and infallibility in particular.
        In our world of Daas Torah, there has been a myth propagated, in order to show the effectiveness and importance of Torah, (as if it needs a myth for support…), that Gedolim – i.e. those who have dedicated their lives to Torah – don’t ever sin and are infallible. Even though this is patently not true, (Tanach is full of examples otherwise, and Mussar Sforim clearly state otherwise), many books about Gedolim have been banned or edited to maintain this myth. The corollary is that if one who studies Torah sins, this cannot be made public, as if it destroys this myth it will cause the entire Torah world to tumble. Whereas in reality, the myth itself is a cause of many of the problems, including the non-reporting. The true Gedolim, who understand this is a myth, are the ones who encourage reporting, and wrote Tshuvos as such.

    • Stewart:
      re marriage which :”ameliorates that Yeitzer Horo/Taava/urge”.
      I am no lamdan (well, you know that) but everything I have learned indicated that Judaism DOES NOT VIEW SEXUALITY AS YETZER/HARA, UNLIKE, Christianity , (or perhaps only Catholicism. I don’t know.)
      See book on “Jewish Views of SEXUALITY” not yet written , by Maurice LAMM, (kidding but who better?) but maybe such a source does, in fact, exist?????

      • Gaon,
        Sexuality is a physical Taava/urge,which can be hijacked by the Yetzer Hara, or used properly, in which case it fulfills a Mitzva. (Same applies to food.) Read some classic Mussar Seforim for sources – many of them are available in English. A more contemporary source would be Garden of Peace by R’ Shalom Arush, translated by R’ Lazer Brody.

        • Stewart,
          thank you for clarifying the conection with the yetzer hara. “it can be hijacked” for sure, but it is not a given or predictable, correct??. Garden of Peace sounds like a good source, and vaguely familiar, of interest in general. and on your rec. i plan to purchase it online used today.
          Thanks for your reply.

  4. Several points.
    1) there are some incredibly good comments on this particular post. well, all of them.

    2 )tt: earlier you wrote long hebrew passages, which i understand, (well mostly), but when you do that, (and i’m talkiing about a Hebrew only comment on different post, not this topic, could you also provide source? ) my Hebrew is pretty good, my torah knowledge is abyssmal, mi yodeah, maybe those were not quotes, but efshar your own? if so major kol hakavod!

    3) “celibacy is not sustainable or whatever”. not sure, but does masturbation rule out
    the appelation of celibacy? or nocturnal emissions? yes probably in 99.999 % of men celibacy is not sustainable, but do these other sources of relief remove the individual from the celibacy nomenclature, biologically speakiing of course???? (anyone YL??)

    4) Stewart, 2 great comments

    5) Yerachmiel: ” Judaism generally opposes celibacy within marriage” come again??? Is not a wife whose husband refuses sexual intimacy, AUTOMATICALLY ZOCHA to a GET from a Beit Din? And assuming that i am correct, (I am) are there any other circumstances where a wife can get a GET without husband’s consent?????

  5. @ Gaon:

    2) My Hebrew quotes are from Talmud mostly as well as from Torah neviim & ktuvim (TaNach) and I do try to give mareh mekomot at least the first time when utilized. Quotes are sometimes also used for emphasis. At times I apply logic. If you have any specific lines you want me to either translate or supply the source of, bevakasha, please let me know and do my best. BTW this website is getting better everyday, kudos to YL, and if you notice YL also deciphers many unknowns in square brackets.

    3) Celibacy is known in lashon hakodesh as Porush or Prishut, and that is poresh min haIsha. Prishut brings to kdusha, and having outside outlets is definitley not adding to kedusha.

    I just want to add that when it comes to children, I am extremely sensitive, and was never ever able to understand why they are expendable. The reasons given are dynamic and trivial, i.e. It is pain for the perpetrators family when coming to shiduchim, if so, then what about the victims family? Not only do they hurt, but the ENABLERS are revictimizing them all over and over again as by the Kozak hanigzal. It is now payback time, and Hashem is pursuing the Rodef since SHEKER EIN LO RAGLAYIM, veda”l.

    • Thank yu tt. It is mostly sources that I sorely need., but an occasional phrase as well. Modern Hebrew is not a problem at all for me. As for phrases perhaps I shall wait and accumulate a small collection and then inquire. You are absolutely correct, this site, while always excellent, has had value added, every day. i’ve been here around 5 months. Re enablers, or supporters or revictimization, a better example than Manis Friedman cannot be found. That is when i started following these sites, and behind the scenes am trying to have an effect on that individual who can do all of the verbal PR apologies in the world, but there is no way that he can find any kind of convoluted logic to “repeal” “what, are you so holy, that no one can touch you?”.
      The entire thing, video, audio , transcript were all hideous, but I think that I am the only one who was struck specifically by that one remark, which he can NEVER ERASE. Or rationalize, He has to go.. ani osah maamatsim anakiim ligrom l’kach. And I am tenacious.

      My comment re celibacy related back to comment by another poster above that celibacy is virtually non sustainable. and as such, i was suggesting that biologically it is conceivable (no pun intended)., completely unrelated to the issue of kedusha.
      Thanks for the response and offer of access to your extraordinary knowledge.

  6. RE: the tip of the iceberg. All current interest , investigation, advocacy is centralized around the abuse in the ortho Jewish community, (mostly Rabbinic perpetrated).
    At some point, if all of those victims/survivors ever get flushed out, the community may start focusing on family sexual abuse., Of course, there may be overlap, and many in both categories may never come out, since the perp is long long dead, No criminal case, no civil case, and in the case of family, if any are still alive, either the hurt will be lashav, or they will not accept, causing further pain to a survivor of a long dead perp. Sometimes, :”let sleeping dogs lie” is the most prudent and wise thing.

    In all such cases, where there is no possible value in reporting, as indicated, perp dead, family dead, or will react in non-predictable ways, the only value in coming forward, would be for community statistics. Doesn’t seem feasible. The statisticians and sociologists, could choose some random starting point, say, 80 years ago?

    Would love to see a ceremony, which wold be a combination of the ceremony on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 , family members all day, rising to the podium and announcing names of family victims, combined with a South African sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission where victims of civil liberties gave oral testimony , edut, which was supposedly very healing for some. I have not read the statistics. actually re how successful that effort was in creating healing.

    Bet we could fill up Madison Square garden, just with survivors/victims.

  7. LOL, dart board, spoken like a pacifist. But erev shabbat, so speaking of more violent expressions is not appropriate. In any case, many of those pictures may have been burned k’var in gehennom. (or azazel)?

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