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Sexual abuse hits Church finances: Even the Vatican is now being sued
BBC News Online ^ | Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK | Peter Gould

Posted on 05/04/2002 7:40:00 AM PDT by history_matters

Payments to victims of sexual abuse by priests in the United States could reach $1bn.

The estimate is quoted by the leading Catholic magazine America, which says many people are so angry about the scandal that they want to punish the church.

In addition to multi-million dollar law suits, it is thought that some Roman Catholics may now withhold donations to the church.

Estimates put the total payments
at $350m to $1bn

America magazine

And many insurance companies, who used to offer the Church cover for claims of sexual abuse, are said to be no longer prepared to take the risk.

The reason is the size of the payments being made to victims, either in jury awards or out-of-court settlements.

The Archdiocese of Boston alone is facing costs estimated at $100m, and new cases are emerging across the country.

Last week two American men who say they were abused as teenagers began legal action against the Vatican.

Secret

The magazine says estimates of the total payments made since 1985 ranged from $350m to $1bn.


Father Thomas Reese, editor of America

"But no-one really knows, because in many cases the court records are sealed," it says in an editorial.

The amounts were often kept secret at the insistence of the insurance companies, who preferred to settle out of court because legal fees could amount to $500,000 per case.

The magazine says that following a large jury award in 1985, practically all insurance companies had excluded cover for sexual abuse from their liability policies.

It warns that if church assets have to be liquidated to settle claims, it could mean less money for scholarships, parish schools, soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless.

Outrage

The editorial says the payments made to victims were not so much "hush money" as attempts to help them meet the cost of therapy and rebuild their lives.

The Pope has condemned "evil" sex abusers

"Even so, many Catholics have expressed outrage that their donations are being used to pay millions of dollars to victims of abuse for out of court settlements or jury awards," says America.

The magazine says anger over the crimes was not only being directed at the perpetrators, but also at church officials who had failed to take action to protect children.

Many dioceses were now turning over to the authorities the names of priests accused of sexual abuse.

But many people also wanted to punish the church, specifically the bishops who moved priests to new parishes where they had abused again and again.

"Some Catholics are so angry with their bishop that they are calling for a boycott of donations to the diocese," it says.

"Many intend to give to their local parish, but not the bishop."

Punishment

The magazine also questions to size of awards being made by juries.

Many Catholics have expressed outrage
that their donations are being used
to pay millions of dollars to victims of abuse

America magazine

"Multi-million dollar awards, like the boycotting of diocesan collections, punish the wrong people," it argues in its editorial.

"Big jury awards make sense as a way to punish profit-making businesses, but they are a very blunt instrument for dealing with non-profit organizations, which have no stockholders.

"The church is not just the bishops, it is the people in the pews. There are no deep pockets with unlimited funds. Churches depend on the small weekly contributions from their congregations.

"Punishing the church means punishing the people of God and those they serve. Justice demands that we find another way."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; churchfinances; sexualabuse; vatican
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H_M's caveat:
"America" is a liberal rag serving people who are Catholic in name only. Fr. Thomas Reese is a pro-deviancy spokesperson.

1 posted on 05/04/2002 7:40:01 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: *Catholic_list
Indexing
2 posted on 05/04/2002 7:40:25 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: sneakers; Judith Anne; B Knotts; american colleen; notwithstanding; ELS; frogandtoad...
bump
3 posted on 05/04/2002 7:41:29 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: history_matters
Another sad chapter. They should have thought about this long ago when the first allegations were reported. I read an article which said the Archdiocese of Boston may have to sell property to fund these settlements. There's an irony here. All these liberal kooks and Liberation Theology nuts for years had been moaning about how the Church needed to get more in touch with poverty. Odd that lawsuits over aggravated sodomy would be the way back to the catacombs.
4 posted on 05/04/2002 8:04:55 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: history_matters
The amounts were often kept secret at the insistence of the insurance companies, who preferred to settle out of court because legal fees could amount to $500,000 per case.

I don't see why the insurers should have had to pay anything after the first offense per individual. I also don't see why the insurers didn't lean on the archdiocese and say, "Keep this one away from kids -- we're not paying for him again."

Insurers aren't the list bit shy about insisting that ordinary policyholders minimize risk.

5 posted on 05/04/2002 8:12:15 AM PDT by maryz
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To: maryz
Sorry - that should be "least bit shy"
6 posted on 05/04/2002 8:12:49 AM PDT by maryz
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To: history_matters
I have a suggestion...that they shut down the faculty and residential dining halls at Jesuit colleges and universities (especially the stock of alcoholic beverages)until all homosexuals are removed from active ministry. That should speed things up a bit. Also...there should NOT be any catered dining at the upcoming Dallas conference of the U.S. bishops. No more catered dining for the hierarchy until the chanceries are out of debt. Law could use the weight reduction anyway.
7 posted on 05/04/2002 8:20:08 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: history_matters
The estimate is quoted by the leading Catholic magazine America,

"Leading?" The only thing America mag is leading is a left wing effort to destroy the Church from within. The Jesuits are part of the problem it seems, not the solution.

9 posted on 05/04/2002 8:28:15 AM PDT by PLK
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: maryz
Insurers aren't the list bit shy about insisting that ordinary policyholders minimize risk.

That's a very good point. I do dog rescue in my spare time and we often have to deal with insurance companies who cancel homeowners insurance because of dog bites. They have threatened to cancel even where a stranger was bitten when, without permission, he climbed a fence into someone's back yard. (Seems to me the dog should have received a medal rather than a reprimand).

Yet, when it came to rapist priests, the insurance people seemed to look the other way and continued coverage. I don't have a heck of lot of sympathy for the insurance companies if that is what happened.

11 posted on 05/04/2002 8:33:05 AM PDT by 07055
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To: history_matters
Sexual abuse hits Church finances: Even the Vatican is now being sued

I guess some trial lawyers and personal injury lawyers finally read a peppery bit of
Mark Twain's called "Why Don't They Rob Their Churches?". (It was his observation
on the opulence of the churche buildings in Italy, compared to the wide-spread poverty.)

There surely are some bad priests and corrupt supervisors who need punishment.
Too bad that many good folks will be made to suffer to pay court costs and damages.
12 posted on 05/04/2002 8:40:54 AM PDT by VOA
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To: 07055
A little ironic that it may end up being "insurance" experts who will motivate the church to enforce its sexual teachings.
13 posted on 05/04/2002 8:47:41 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: history_matters
Is Reese a homo, by the way?
14 posted on 05/04/2002 8:48:57 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
"No more catered dining for the hierarchy until the chanceries are out of debt. Law could use the weight reduction anyway."

ROFLOL! The Church really could use a hefty dose of asceticism in the dioceses. The lack of self denial is a large problem in secular society too.
15 posted on 05/04/2002 8:50:33 AM PDT by Domestic Church
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To: history_matters

16 posted on 05/04/2002 8:53:48 AM PDT by ppaul
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To: MarkWar
"Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence," Rosemary Curb (Editor) Nancy Manahan (Editor) -- is a pretty good indication that there is a whole population of young girls who have also been abused but either haven't come forward or simply aren't getting the press.

How extensive is abuse of teenage girls and children by lesbians? Anybody know?

Personally, I think you're making stuff up. There is no evidence that there is any kind of problem with "lesbian nuns" and girls in their charge. Just how extensive is female rape?

However I have known a lot of girls who told me that nuns used to take them aside and talk about how wearing "indecent" underwear would "lead boys on" and the nuns seemed keen to talk about what kind of underwear the girls owned and wore...)

You mean like the Vice-Principal in a public school out in California who just last week was checking for thong underwear?

There are prudish busybodies in all professions, the Catholic sisterhood has had and will continue to have its share. But to act as if there's some looming abuse problem among nuns is just ludicrous.

17 posted on 05/04/2002 8:57:46 AM PDT by sinkspur
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To: Domestic Church
Unfortunately, I've had some personal and professional exposure to ecclesiastical financial shenanigans. If any church property needs to be sold, I suggest they start with any luxury autos in current use by clerical officials. The wine and liquor cabinets in clerical dining facilities should be next. Along with the Jesuit summer house in Cape May, NJ. And no more trips to Europe for clergy, unless they are one-way tickets to Rome.
18 posted on 05/04/2002 8:58:44 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
If any church property needs to be sold, I suggest they start with any luxury autos in current use by clerical officials. The wine and liquor cabinets in clerical dining facilities should be next. Along with the Jesuit summer house in Cape May, NJ. And no more trips to Europe for clergy, unless they are one-way tickets to Rome.

Is there also one in Ocean City, NJ?

19 posted on 05/04/2002 9:09:57 AM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
That wouldn't be that surprising. I'm trying to picture any priest tanning on a beach while church property is auctioned off for sodomy settlements.
20 posted on 05/04/2002 9:16:56 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: history_matters
This problem will not be solved with money; it will be solved by calling the entire Catholic Church (including those who are dedicated to a consecrated life and the hierarchy),who are co-members of the Catholic Church along with the laity, to a life filled with prayer and faith in the will of God and His plan on earth.
21 posted on 05/04/2002 10:23:20 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: ppaul
Bumping for the cartoon. Great thoughts!
22 posted on 05/04/2002 10:25:12 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: sinkspur
>Personally, I think you're making stuff up.

French underwear cheese knife yogurt onion union.

Mark W.

23 posted on 05/04/2002 10:27:16 AM PDT by MarkWar
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To: Salvation
This problem will not be solved with money; it will be solved by calling the entire Catholic Church (including those who are dedicated to a consecrated life and the hierarchy),who are co-members of the Catholic Church along with the laity, to a life filled with prayer and faith in the will of God and His plan on earth.

Well, that is all well and good, but we do have the little temporal matter of lawsuits,which will somehow have to be addressed.

Contingency lawyers won't take 40% of "prayer and faith".

24 posted on 05/04/2002 10:29:20 AM PDT by sinkspur
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To: ppaul
You failed to post the disclaimer that the editorial cartoon is factually inaccurate. The discipline of clerical celibacy dates back to the Apostles, not the 12th century and has Scriptural foundation. Telling the truth isn't part of your agenda though, is it.
25 posted on 05/04/2002 10:31:34 AM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: sinkspur
Contingency lawyers won't take 40% of "prayer and faith".

Maybe they should take it, because I don't know if the money is going to be forthcoming. (Can you tell that this is a great concern of mine?)

26 posted on 05/04/2002 10:44:18 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
If justice were really being served, a few bishops and a cardinal or two doing prison time might help to quell the need for large payments for civil suits.

Money is often a substitute for those who cannot get justice in any other way.

I do not understand how the hierarchy can get off without charges of criminal activity.

There are laws about "required reporters," i.e. those who suspect child abuse. Does this not apply to these bishops and cardianls ?

27 posted on 05/04/2002 10:44:57 AM PDT by happygrl
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To: happygrl

28 posted on 05/04/2002 10:59:21 AM PDT by superfluousdude
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: maryz
"I don't see why the insurers should have had to pay anything after the first offense per individual. I also don't see why the insurers didn't lean on the archdiocese and say, "Keep this one away from kids -- we're not paying for him again."

Most likely they are Catholic. Only a Catholic would defend this and allow it to continue to save some imaginary image of this church as being righteous. Oh, I know, ANY criticism, even when justified as in this situation is "bashing". It just goes to show you just how some will blindly defend evil.

30 posted on 05/04/2002 11:07:49 AM PDT by nmh
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To: nmh
Direct your disgust where it belongs, on sin, not on Catholicism. You have brothers and sisters in Christ who need your prayer, not your disgust. There are countless Catholics who are just as disgusted as you, and possibly more so.
31 posted on 05/04/2002 11:22:31 AM PDT by Rita289
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
The reason that the insurance companies may have not acted sooner is that prior to 1985 most of the agencies getting the large policies from the Church were run by relatives and friends of the bishops and cardinals. Everything was "in the family". One hand washes the other, and all that. Just like the lawyers who work for the church. One big brotherhood; no independent financial auditing if dioceses, etc. If anyone ever did an expose on the financial hanky-panky of the bishoips, the results would be worse than the sex scandal.

And then there was the (sex AND money) case of the late Cardinal Cody of Chicago, who shifted millions of dollars worth of church insurance policies to his "nephew"s" company. When the old sinner died in 1981, it was revealed that the "nephew" was really his son. And the beat goes on.....

32 posted on 05/04/2002 11:34:23 AM PDT by Palladin
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To: ppaul
What a stupid, oafish cartoon! By placing it here, you denigrate the vocations and work of 98% of the Protestant and Orthodox pastors, not to mention Jewish rabbis. These men (and women) are married, and do their jobs just as well as married doctors, policemen, military, etc.

But, of course, these other denominations , ruled by justice, pay a living wage to their pastors,and provide them with decent housing and company cars. Many of them can well afford domestic help, which frees up their wives tobe true help-mates in the parish.

OTOH, the Catholic Church would probably treat married clergy the way they treat their married teachers--as second class citizens--paying them slave wages, no pension, minimum benefits.

33 posted on 05/04/2002 11:42:33 AM PDT by Palladin
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To: MarkWar
I went through the Catholic school system too. I have known many nuns throughout my life and still today. I don't know any lesbian nuns nor have I ever been propositioned by one.

Your vile, obscene reply to sinkspur proves your intent. Despicable.

34 posted on 05/04/2002 11:44:41 AM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: happygrl
There are laws about "required reporters," i.e. those who suspect child abuse. Does this not apply to these bishops and cardianls ?

No, it hasn't in Massachusetts. I don't know who else is not covered, but a bill is being worked on in the legislature.

35 posted on 05/04/2002 11:46:48 AM PDT by maryz
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
The discipline of clerical celibacy dates back to the Apostles.....

Which ones?
If you are referring to St. Peter, he was married, was he not?

36 posted on 05/04/2002 11:51:03 AM PDT by ppaul
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To: Palladin
I'm familiar with the legal fiefdoms enjoyed by a small number of Catholic lawyers. Cronyism may be part of the problem. There have been situations certainly where much more highly qualified persons could have replaced the "machine" functionaries making decisions. Even with regard to these "lay" committees, all too often it's the same old usual suspects.
37 posted on 05/04/2002 12:28:30 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: goldenstategirl
>(1)...I don't know any lesbian nuns nor have I ever been propositioned by one.
(2) Your vile, obscene reply to sinkspur proves your intent. Despicable.

Both your points elude me.

(1) As I said, neither I nor anyone I know was ever propositioned by a priest. To most people such a thing is unthinkable. Yet apparently such goings on are happening every day. The fact that you weren't propositioned by any nuns is hardly much of a comment on the situation. The notion that fringe men would engage in a deviant, abusive type of behavior but fringe women would not engage in deviant, abusive behavior is childish and thoughtless and further isolates the victims of women who do engage in such behavior.

(2) The idiot said he thought I was making stuff up! I put up a link to a book that is so famous book stores on the north side of Chicago classed it as a "local best seller" and the idiot accused me of making stuff up. Screw him. My reply was measured, tame and downright pleasant compared to what he deserved.

(extra) The issue of lesbian abuse is a remarkable topic because it is not only taboo to discuss in "normal" society -- as we've seen in this thread -- but even within the gay community the issue is hardly ever spoken of. That's one reason actual numbers are hard to come by.

But at least some people are trying to get past the knee jerk denial phase. For instance:

Amazon Editorial Reviews
From Booklist
Perhaps the most isolated crime victims are lesbian and bisexual survivors of woman-to-woman sexual violence. Multifaceted sexual-identity issues combine with shame and institutionalized heterosexism to make society unable to acknowledge such assaults. The legal system, women's support services, and the lesbian community are just beginning to name such behaviors, let alone confronting and dealing with them. Women's studies professor Girshick breaks new ground as she plumbs the experiences and thoughts of 70 women, gleaned from a nationwide U.S. survey and in-depth interviews. She documents the women's responses to the violence, whether they received or were denied aid, and whether silence was imposed on them. Her insightful and provocative work well may stir controversy even as it sheds light on a previously shadowed subject. Dedicated to "those who are still silenced," the book also powerfully explores the need for community and such preconceived notions and myths as lesbian utopia. A worthy addition to the sociology of violence in women's lives.
Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Book Description
A woman raping another woman is unthinkable. This is not how women behave, society tells us. Our legal system is not equipped to handle woman-to-woman sexual assault, our women's services do not have the resources or even the words to reach out to its victims, and our lesbian and gay communities face hurdles in acknowledging its existence. Already dealing with complex issues related to their sexual identities, and frequently overwhelmed by shame, lesbian and bisexual survivors of such...
"Woman-To-Woman Sexual Violence : Does She Call It Rape? (The Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and the Law)," by Lori B. Girshick

At least let's learn a little something for the tribulations everyone is enduring from the uncovering of the priest scandals. Pretending something ISN'T or CAN'T be going on is just a way of 1) burying your head in the sand; and 2) ensuring there will be further victims of the monsters your denial has enabled.

Mark W.

39 posted on 05/04/2002 2:11:12 PM PDT by MarkWar
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To: history_matters
This guy is another hack if he thinks the Hierarchy is concerned with the people in the pews,Law particularly could care less about the people.

Catholics don't necessarily want to hurt the Church they have only one way to let the Bishops know they want things to change, by withholding money so these self inflated Idiots like law get the message real fast.

It is very obvious Law is not a man of his word and is blinded by his own arrogance.

Catholics want to see the victims taken care of,NOW!

40 posted on 05/04/2002 2:13:21 PM PDT by chatham
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
I have been told that he is a homosexual.
41 posted on 05/04/2002 3:14:03 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: history_matters
He certainly looks odd.
42 posted on 05/04/2002 3:16:50 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity;history_matters
That thought went through my mind when I saw his picture. Glad I wasn't the only one.
43 posted on 05/04/2002 4:05:30 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: MarkWar
Nape Ore Wall Bane Egg Nog Ice Crow Eat. ;-)
45 posted on 05/04/2002 6:46:22 PM PDT by Bonaparte
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To: MarkWar
The idiot said he thought I was making stuff up! I put up a link to a book that is so famous book stores on the north side of Chicago classed it as a "local best seller" and the idiot accused me of making stuff up. Screw him. My reply was measured, tame and downright pleasant compared to what he deserved.

If you can post some evidence that there is even an inkling of lesbian abuse committed by Catholic nuns, you might have some credibility. Otherwise, you are making inferences from a book that has nothing to do with Catholic nuns.

IOW, you are MAKING STUFF UP!

PROVE what you are saying or you are nothing but a common liar!

46 posted on 05/04/2002 6:55:38 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: history_matters
"America" is a liberal rag serving people who are Catholic in name only. Fr. Thomas Reese is a pro-deviancy spokesperson.

Well said! The article called America "the leading Catholic magazine." Goofy!

47 posted on 05/04/2002 7:03:06 PM PDT by Renatus
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
Like they say, "FOLLOW THE MONEY". Maybe as much as $1,000,000,000 paid out without a $1.00 being paid in taxes. How bout each contributor gets a year-end balance sheet (P & L) of the church income worldwide.
48 posted on 05/04/2002 7:16:25 PM PDT by Pit1
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To: sinkspur
No, it's not ridiculous to think that there might be abuse problems among nuns. I had a boss in California about 15 years ago who had been brought up in an orphanage in NJ run by an order of nuns that I won't identify. She, having had a great life among the nuns (her parents were alive but had basically abandoned her), went into the order when she was 18 (probably around 1964-5). Things were fine until about 1970, when suddenly a young nun appeared at her door and told her that she "really liked" her.

My friend slammed the door in her face and, until she left the order a couple of years later, heard the ladies scampering up and down the hall and enjoying themselves.

This woman eventually decided that she was a lesbian, but that was (I think) simply a reaction, because she had grown up among women, and had then suddenly seen all of these innocent friendships suddenly turn sexual.

Remember that before Vatican II, men and women religious were severely chastised for having "particular friendships." This phrase may not mean anything to you, but what it meant in the real world was the building of individual and group (cliquish) friendships that excluded the rest of the community.

Having lived in lay communities, I can tell you that cliques are enormously dangerous. And two-person cliques that suddenly become sexual are the most dangerous of all.

Generally, it seems to me that women do not form the sort of Lavender Mafia that men do; women seem to leave their orders if they plan to pursue a non-Christian "life-style." A point in favor of women, who may be more honest than men, such as the great guys and practicing clergy who gave us the "Sebastian's Angels"website...

Now that we have abandoned the saints (when was the last time you saw the feast of a saint in your "missalette"?) and almost 2,000 years of experience, I guess it's not to wonder that everyone, male and female, has gone way off the tracks and crashed and burned in the underbrush.

49 posted on 05/04/2002 7:17:34 PM PDT by livius
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To: livius
No, it's not ridiculous to think that there might be abuse problems among nuns.

Your anecdotal story notwithstanding, it IS ridiculous to posit an abuse problem among nuns without any evidence or testimony to the fact.

50 posted on 05/04/2002 8:07:40 PM PDT by sinkspur
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