Saturday, 1 June 2019

Catholic Abuse News - Church Struggling to Keep up With Secular Humanism

Don Gino Flaim - "It was the Children's fault"
Italian priest Don Gino Flaim justifies paedophilia on live TV and blames children for ‘seeking affection’ | The Independent

A measure of just how far the Catholic Church has been forced to adopt decent Humanist standards of behaviour can be gauged by this article from 2012 and comparing it with Catholic PR today.

To day, senior Catholics know they need to be very guarded and circumspect when they try to blame others for their church's moral bankruptcy and its arrogant abuse of power. Not so just a few years ago, as Don Gino Flaim, 75, of the diocese of Trento in Northern Italy, showed when he went on TV to blame the victims, and by inference their parents, telling the viewers:

Unfortunately there are children who seek affection because they don’t get it at home and then if they find some priest he can even give in [to the temptation]. I understand this.

He told the interviewer that the abused children were "in many cases" responsible and said he could understand paedophilia but not the "sickness" of homosexuality.

The Trento Diocese, immediately tried to distance itself from him but the fact remains that Flaim was merely expressing a widely held view that the victims were to blame and their abusers were entitled to sympathy and understanding, having been unfairly tempted. This was exactly the view that led the Catholic authorities to cover up the abuses and simply move the abusive priest to another parish to avoid a scandal. Or to simply require an errant priest to spend time contemplating his misdeeds and praying for forgiveness, before being unleashed on an unsuspecting public again. All the sympathy was for the 'unfortunate' abuser who had been unfairly tempted, and none for the 'sinful' children who had 'wantonly' tempted him.

Since then, the scapegoating has shifted somewhat. The abusive priest is still the real victim but this time because he has been misled by the 'liberal homosexual lobby' and because secular society now accepts homosexuality as not being sinful, as Cardinal Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told the extreme right-wing website, LifeSite, last November.

The other common scapegoat is of course that old firm favourite, Satan. Astonishingly the Pope has twice now placed the blame on Satan not so much for leading the unfortunate priest or nun astray, but for being behind the whistle-blowers and news media who report the cases of abuse! Following the logic of Pope Francis' claims, telling the truth about clerical abuse is the Devil's work. Presumably then, covering it up and keeping it under wraps is defeating Satan!

But the real contrast is between the attitudes expressed by Don Gino Flaim in 2012, no matter how stupidly he blundered in expressing them publicly, and the public attitude today where, when the evidence is overwhelming and public outrage could scarcely get worse, even a long-standing and much admired cardinal can be reduced to the ranks and stripped of his powers. Sadly, this is not for the harm he did to his victims (they are in many cases still fighting for compensation and in many cases have suffered decades of depression, even committing suicide) but for the harm he did to the reputation of the church.

Nevertheless, the Catholic Church has lessened its former arrogance and recognised that what the priest did was wrong, not just because of the harm it's done to the church and the loss of income it's suffered, but because it did real physical and emotional harm to another human being who, despite being treated as trash by the church, was, and is, a human being, entitled to respect and dignity, and not the sexual plaything of choice of arrogant, holier than thou, priests.

Other Christian churches too are learning their lesson and slowly, grudgingly, realising they need to adopt the ethics of Humanism before they sink without trace.







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