Monday, March 29, 2010

Religious Hypocrisy

Sorry my religious friends, to jump onto my hobby horse… It is something that kind of irks me, the kind of things that are detailed below.

And, in a way, it is also because I was tired of hearing about the abuse of boys by Catholic priests in the west. Seems as if it confirms the homosexual = paedophile accusation which some people hurl at us.

I know these things happen. I have grown up with the gossip about Catholic priests who are have children with most of the parishioner women. It is taken as a matter of fact. Shrugged off when it occurs. A man, in Africa, is supposed to have children. In and out of wedlock, like dear Zuma, President of South Africa. The small inconvenience of a religious law that demands celibacy, why, there are ways to get around that.

My partner is a devout catholic. Lapsed, true, but he is. Used to love mother Church so much I wondered how he dared to love me too.

Yet it was him who would give me the story of priests and nuns. Consensual and non consensual sex.

He once told me of a parish priest at his home village who had been embarrassed by his former parish. The husbands ganged up and shamed the priest at a mass in church. And, you know what the Church did? The usual, shifted the priest to a new parish.

Why the hypocrisy? That question is mine. Now, let us examine the horrible story of the Catholic church coming out of Africa. And, yes, these are the guys who….

It just hits me in the face, the people who cry out how sick and bad and evil I am, and then, they act in the way that I am accused of acting.



The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.

The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.

Most of the abuse has occurred in Africa, where priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on nuns to avoid contracting the Aids virus.
Confidential Vatican reports obtained by the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly magazine in the US, have revealed that members of the Catholic clergy have been exploiting their financial and spiritual authority to gain sexual favours from nuns, particularly those from the Third World who are more likely to be culturally conditioned to be subservient to men.

The reports, some of which are recent and some of which have been in circulation for at least seven years, said that such priests had demanded sex in exchange for favours, such as certification to work in a given diocese.

In extreme instances, the priests had made nuns pregnant and then encouraged them to have abortions.

The US article was based on five documents, which senior women from religious orders and priests have presented to the Vatican over the past decade. They describe a particularly bad situation in Africa. In a continent devastated by Aids, nuns, along with early adolescent girls, are perceived by some as safe sexual targets. The reports said that the church authorities had done little to tackle the problem.

The Vatican reports cited countless cases of nuns forced to have sex with priests. Some were obliged to take the pill, others became pregnant and were encouraged to have abortions. In one case in which an African sister was forced to have an abortion, she died during the operation and her aggressor led the funeral mass. Another case involved 29 sisters from the same congregation who all became pregnant to priests in the diocese.

The reports said that the cultures in some African countries made it almost impossible for a young woman to disobey an older man, especially one seen as spiritually superior. There were cases of novices who applied to their local priest or bishop for certificates of good Catholic practice that were required for them to pursue their vocation. In return they were made to have sex. Some incidents of sexual abuse allegedly took place almost within the Vatican walls.

Certain unscrupulous clerics took advantage of young nuns who were having trouble finding accommodation, writing their essays and funding their theological studies.
One of the most comprehensive documents was compiled by Sister Maura O'Donohue, an Aids co-ordinator for Cafod, the London-based Catholic Fund for Overseas Development.

She noted that religious sisters had been identified as "safe" targets for sexual activity. She quotes a case in 1991 of a community superior being approached by priests requesting that the nuns be made available to them for sexual favours.

"When the superior refused the priests explained they would otherwise be obliged to go to the village to find women and might thus get Aids."Sister O'Donohue said her initial reaction to what she was told by her fellow religious "was one of shock and disbelief at the magnitude of the problem".

While most of the abuse happened in African countries, Sister O'Donohue reported incidents in 23 countries including India, Ireland, Italy, the Philippines and the United States.

She heard cases of priests encouraging the nuns to take the pill telling them it would prevent HIV. Others "actually encouraged abortion for the sisters" and Catholic hospitals and medical staff reported pressure from priests to carry out terminations for nuns and other young women.

O'Donohue wrote in her report how a vicar in one African diocese had talked "quite openly" about sex, saying that "celibacy in the African context means a priest does not get married, but does not mean he does not have children.
More recently, in 1998, Sister Marie McDonald, mother superior of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa, put together a paper entitled The Problem of the Sexual Buse of African Religious in Africa and Rome.

She tabled the document to the Council of 16, made up of delegates of the international association of women's and men's religious communities and the Vatican office responsible for religious life. She noted that a contributing cause was the "conspiracy of silence".

When she addressed bishops on the problem, many of them felt it was disloyal of the sisters to send reports.

"However, the sisters claim they have done so time and time again. Sometimes they were not well received. In some instances they are blamed for what happened. Even when they are listened to sympathetically nothing much seems to be done" One of the most tragic elements that emerges is the fate of the victims. While the offending priests are usually moved or sent away for studies, the women are normally chased out of their religious orders, they are then either to scared to return to their families or are rejected by them. they often finished up as outcasts, or, in a cruel twist of irony, as prostitutes, making a meagre living from an act they had vowed never to do.


and, what can an unbeliever like me comment on such a thing?

Why do I even bother?

I asked myself that question. Why do I bother?

Answer is, I am a human being. My world is not perfect, of course it isnt. What I can do to help it get to a better state does matter. And, since I am what has been elected as 'bad' and 'evil', my best role may be in pointing out how hypocritical my accusers are.

Because, they are.

To quote a famous teacher- First take the log out of your eye. You will see better to remove the splinter in mine.

Who says that man wasnt wise?

Be well



Coxygru said...

What about all the nuns who want to make love to the priests in their lives? There must be many who do so willing. Choir boys too.

gayuganda said...

ha ha ha!

Fair question. Very fair question!

And, I do love it.

See, I am all not for hypocrisy, but for sexual fluency...! Kind of crippled by their celibacy rules.

Now, I call them hypocrites, because they say I break their god's law because I am supposed to be celibate. But, they, the god worshippers cannot even keep their celibacy rule.... ha ha ha ha ha!

Forgive my very evident amusement!

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