Cover-Ups Are an Old Story

Medieval priestA. W. Sipe has written a terrific review and analysis of how and why the Roman Catholic Church is permeated with child sex abuse. His term, clerical narcissism was referenced in “Kevin in Chicago’s” excellent post, Israeli Beit Din’s Problem Isn’t Naivete, It’s Narcissism. Sipe reports on the long history dating back at least to the eleventh century. According to him,

In 1049 C.E. St. Peter Damian wrote to Pope Leo IX and decried the prevalence of sexual abuse by clergy that he called “criminal vice” and said it was epidemic. (Letter 31).

Even then he encouraged the pope to have zero tolerance and have offending priests reduced to the lay state. The pope was more tolerant and thought that was too stringent and said steps should be taken only if the behavior was persistent.

Of course the definition of persistent was in the eye of the beholder. A church (or a college administration or rabbinate) eager to avoid scandal will be biased to underestimating the gravity and persistence of abuse.


3 thoughts on “Cover-Ups Are an Old Story

  1. It took the rabbonus almost a thousand years to catch up to the Church. It was prophesized that before Moshiach the bais vaad lechochomim would turn to znus (cf last Mishna in Sotah).

    Of course when the Church tries to force celibacy, human nature will always win. Was it Mark Twain who said there is a nunnery & monastery on opposite hills with an orphanage in the valley between? At least that form is consensual.

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